More women than men suffer fibromyalgia, but the reasons for this remain unclear. Research focuses on hormonal differences between the sexes, but also examines the brain of both sexes for heightened pain receptors as well as numerous other possibilities including a connection to Epstein-Barr and below normal levels of serotonin. Though most everyone has heard of fibromyalgia, hardly anyone knows much about it except that it causes chronic pain and fatigue. No one knows how it develops, or what triggers it. The actual name “fibromyalgia” only came into use in 1990.
Even worse than not knowing the cause, many in the medical community remain unconvinced that fibromyalgia is a real condition, so have come to label it as a disease of hypochondriacs or anxiety- ridden women with nothing better to do than focus on feeling bad. They do not listen to the concerns of patients—mostly women— who are forced to try to develop a treatment plan on their own, usually with limited information resources.
Women who suffer from fibromyalgia often get double the pain trouble of male sufferers. Though the condition is bad for all who have it, women who are still menstruating will often have a very difficult time during their periods. Their period symptoms are compounded by fibromyalgia symptoms, creating a vicious monthly cycle.
One thing that many women have learned to do in order to cope with the double whammy of periods and fibromyalgia is meditation. Sitting in a quiet room with a comfortable temperature that does not irritate fibromyalgia temperature sensitivity, breathing deeply in and out while calmly repeating a mantra, has given many women a new lease on their pain. The idea is similar to lamaze, which has been a great success in countries all over the world. Women are learning that it is mind over matter when what matters is conquering pain.
Women sufferers should also take great care to limit caffeine at all times, but especially while menstruating. That is because caffeine can enliven pain receptors. Excessive use of caffeine also promotes dehydration, which weakens the immune system. Best to drink plenty of fresh water and eat plenty of raw produce to boost the immune system and stay hydrated during this difficult time.
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