Most fibromyalgia suffers are women, but men do suffer from the condition. But because less male patients exist, less information is made available to them. However, the ways that men are affected can be just as painful and debilitating as women.
One of the major issues in the treatment of fibromyalgia among men is the loss of sexual function and /or desire. The use of anti-depressants and pain killers to treat sleep disorders, fatigue, pain, and loss of vitality often result in the loss of sexual desire and /or function. Combined with the pain and the loss of physical strength due to the fibromyalgia, this can be especially devastating for men. It is best for men to be honest with their partners and their doctors about these issues, rather than suffering in silence as they often do. The solution might be as simple as changing or ceasing certain medications.
Men also have a harder time accepting pain and feelings of weakness. Society says men are supposed to be strong and never complain, which is hard to do with a condition like fibromyalgia. Even worse, there is a lot of confusion even among doctors about the condition, with some insisting it’s all in the head. To many men, it sounds like they are being called crazy or hysterical. This is tough to deal with for anybody, but especially tough given the stereotypes that men feel they must live up to by never displaying what they deem as a weakness.
Another issue to consider is that more men may actually suffer from fibromyalgia, but because they pay less attention to the changes in their bodies and often blame physical problems on getting older, they may not know they have it. The fact that they visit the doctor much less than women does not help clarify the issue, either. Even when men visit the doctor, they often don’t speak up because they don’t want to be perceived as “complainers”.
It is important to remember that men with fibromyalgia can live long and productive lives, same as women. Following sound medical advice and a healthy regimen should help reduce associated pain and fatigue for all Fibromyalgia patients.
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