A survey conducted late last year about Fibromyalgia on men, a participant responded with the following (Muraleetharan, Fadich, Stephenson, & Garney, 2018):
“I have dealt with depression, anger issues, continual pain, inability to walk, think clearly, and unable to do many activities I previously could do. Many people shy away from me, as they don’t understand the concept of nonstop pain.” (41-year-old male)
Kevin P. White, the author of “Breaking Thru the Fibro Fog: Scientific Proof Fibromyalgia Is Real” states “I want to go back to the myth that fibromyalgia is an old woman’s disease and point out that, in addition to young and adolescent girls and young and youthful middle-aged women getting it… boys and men get it too” (White, 2012).
In his opinion, men tend to avoid doctors and other healthcare professionals more than women. Often they suffer due to the stigmatization of being wimpy, lazy, opportunistic or worse (White, 2012).
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a serious condition that affects approximately four million people in the United States and as many as 4.8 percents of men worldwide and mostly underdiagnosed (Muraleetharan et al., 2018).
A study conducted at community-based using the assessment method from the fibromyalgia research survey criteria resulted with suggestions that patients, particularly men, who meet the fibromyalgia research survey criteria are unlikely to have been given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (Vincent et al., 2013).
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a complex illness to diagnose and treat, with symptoms that may be part of or overlap with other diseases or syndromes (Vincent et al., 2013).
Fibromyalgia involves widespread pain, tenderness, fatigue, and other symptoms. It interferes with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities (National Institutes of Health, 2008).
What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Symptoms of fibromyalgia include (Mayo Clinic, 2018):
- Widespread pain – The pain associated with fibromyalgia often is described as a constant dull ache that has lasted for at least three months. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.
- Fatigue – People with fibromyalgia often awaken tired, even though they report sleeping for long periods of time. Sleep is often disrupted by pain, and many patients with fibromyalgia have other sleep disorders, such as restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.
- Cognitive difficulties – A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.
Fibromyalgia often co-exists with other painful conditions, such as (Mayo Clinic, 2018):
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- A migraine and other types of headaches
- Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
Mayo Clinic. (2018). Fibromyalgia – Symptoms and causes. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fibromyalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354780
Muraleetharan, D., Fadich, A., Stephenson, C., & Garney, W. (2018). Understanding the Impact of Fibromyalgia on Men: Findings From a Nationwide Survey. American Journal of Men’s Health, 1557988317753242. https://doi.org/10.1177/1557988317753242
National Institutes of Health. (2008, July 1). Fibromyalgia: In Depth. Retrieved March 3, 2018, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/fibromyalgia.htm
Vincent, A., Lahr, B. D., Wolfe, F., Clauw, D. J., Whipple, M. O., Oh, T. H., … St. Sauver, J. (2013). Prevalence of Fibromyalgia: A Population-Based Study in Olmsted County, Minnesota, Utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Arthritis Care & Research, 65(5), 786–792. https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.21896
White, K. P. (2012). Fibromyalgia, 20(3).