St Louis, MO
Ask any woman with fibromyalgia about her disease, and she’ll probably tell you this: The disease —and the pain — is real. People who have fibromyalgia may look fine. Their medical test results may be normal. But they are suffering from serious pain.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that affects between three million and six million Americans, and more than eight out of 10 are women. The American College of Rheumatology classifies the disease as chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain for three or more months and tenderness at 11 or more of 18 designated “tender points.”
Although fibromyalgia’s main symptoms are muscle and joint pain, many people have other symptoms, including fatigue, headaches and problems sleeping.
Many women find their symptoms are worse right before menstruation. Pregnant women with fibromyalgia typically experience a worsening of the disease’s symptoms, especially during the last trimester, and increased depression and anxiety immediately after childbirth. Postmenopausal women with fibromyalgia often experience more severe pain overall.