As you may know, fibromyalgia is a common musculoskeletal condition that often involves widespread and chronic and widespread pain and tenderness throughout the body.
As this condition does deal with pain within both the muscular and skeletal systems, there is a wide array of symptoms one can experience as a cause of this disease.
There are also various extremes to which each person may experience their symptoms as well as symptoms they never experience.
I should mention that some symptoms that occur with fibromyalgia may actually be from an overlapping condition a person has.
This means you could have one symptom, such as migraines, that occur often but it may be due to a condition separate from the fibromyalgia you have.
I would also like to state much of this information came from Mayo Clinic, so that is another place to go for information on fibromyalgia.
To go through the large number of symptoms a person can experience, I’ll cover them within a certain group, such as symptoms that may be associated with your heart. But first…
General but Common Symptoms and Causes
This section is placed first because these are not only the symptoms very commonly experienced, but also don’t quite fit into the categories I will be listing throughout this article.
It is also placed here because there is an important cause I believe people should be aware of: if someone in your family that you are genetically related to has had fibromyalgia before, you are also at risk for the same disease.
It is common to have a genetic predisposition to a disease, and this is no different in the case of fibromyalgia.
One symptom that could be easily overlooked is a craving for carbs or something with chocolate, especially for women who have these cravings each month.
It could also be overlooked by those who eat a lot of carbs due to how much strenuous activity they partake in, such as sports.
Those with chronic headaches or migraines may also overlook those potential signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The following are symptoms that I believe are more likely to be taken as warning signs of a potential problem within the body:
- Delayed reaction time, especially to a stressful event or during physical activity
- Sweating excessively
- A large and unexplained change in weight
- Rapidly deteriorating vision
Some may also experience:
- More nosebleeds
It is incredibly common for those with fibromyalgia to experience something known as “Fibro Fog.” This is essentially when the person with fibromyalgia feels like they are in a daze because their brain is so exhausted.
These two topics are also grouped together because many of these symptoms stem from the information your brain has you register – or not register, as it may be the case.
Here are the potential symptoms:
- Difficulty speaking
- Poor sense of direction
- Lack of balance and coordination
- Tingling or burning sensations in the arms (also called paresthesia)
- Loss of ability to differentiate between certain shades of color
- Poor short-term memory
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty learning something new
- Worsened reading comprehension
- Often stares into space until brain “kicks in”
- Difficulty recognizing familiar areas
Digestive and Stomach Region Pains
These symptoms may also be overlooked as a stomach ache or being physically ill.
If these symptoms do occur to you frequently and you are wondering if you do actually have fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor about them.
It may be fibromyalgia, it may be something else, but let your doctor know so you can get treatment.
Without further ado, here is the list of symptoms:
- Stomach bloating and nausea
- Abdominal cramps
- Frequently need to urinate
- Pain in your pelvis
Irritable bowel syndrome may be an overlapping condition to fibromyalgia, so make sure you are keeping track of your symptoms or pain areas.
Emotional Side Effects
Many of these may also be on account of another disorder or disease, so make sure to get a thorough diagnosis from your rheumatologist.
The emotional side effects of fibromyalgia include:
- Panic attacks
- Crying easily
- Anxiety that isn’t associated with a situation or any objects
- Mood swings
- Unexplainable irritation
Depression is also an overlapping condition to fibromyalgia.
Heart-Related Overlapping Conditions
There are three heart-related conditions that overlap with fibromyalgia but aren’t a direct result of fibromyalgia itself.
These conditions are mitral valve prolapse, having an irregular heartbeat, and pain that feels like a heart attack.
Mitral valve prolapse is when the valve between the upper and lower left chambers doesn’t close properly.
This has the symptoms of an irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
Irregular heartbeats may feel like your heart skipped a beat or added a beat in comparison with its normal beating pattern.
This may have no symptoms directly related to it, but some may experience chest pain, frequent fainting, or dizziness.
The pain that feels like you are having a heart attack is often from costochondritis, which is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone.
Muscle or Tissue Pains
There are a few types of muscular or pain within the tissue, such as:
- Mild to severe pain that may also move around the body
- Morning stiffness
- Twitches of the muscle
- Spread out and low amounts of swelling that aren’t inflammation
Having tender or lumpy breasts, or fibrocystic breasts is also an overlapping condition of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms Affecting Your Five Senses
There are also some symptoms that will make particular senses more sensitive.
- Odor sensitivity
- Being sensitive to pressure, temperature, or humidity changes
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
- Sensory overload
- Difficulty driving at night (may be more difficult to see in the dark)
Sexual or Reproductive Symptoms
Several of these would need to be explored for a cause by a doctor anyways, but there is a small possibility this could lead to fibromyalgia – at least if you are experiencing the other symptoms and having chronic pains.
Here is the list of potential symptoms:
- Premature menopause
- Menstrual issues
- Decline in sex drive
- Impotence in men
PMS, which is where periods become very painful and have increased the severity of symptoms, may be an overlapping condition in women who still have their periods.
Symptoms Dealing with Sinuses, Respiratory System, And Allergies
These may be mistaken as a common allergy symptom for you, or that may be all it is. If you have fibromyalgia, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Post nasal drip
- Runny nose
- Sensitivity to mold or yeast
- Shortness of breath
- Itchy Ears
- Tinnitus, where your ears ring
Symptoms Dealing with Your Skin, Hair, And Nails
These would be a lot more likely to be a cause to go to the doctor with, but remember to mention them to your rheumatologist or whoever you are seeing for your fibromyalgia as well.
These symptoms include:
- Nails that are curving down
- Mottled skin
- Noticeable nail ridge
- Easily becoming bruised or scarred
- Temporary hair loss
- Tissue overgrowth
Just an important addition: The tissue overgrowth includes things such as ingrown hairs and heavy or splitting cuticles.
Symptoms Involving Your Sleep
These may also be due to a stressful time in your life so, if you do have fibromyalgia, do your best to track your emotional state or current life events as it may also impact your symptoms!
Here are potential symptoms you may experience:
- Broken or light sleep where you wake up unrefreshed
- Constant fatigue
- Falling sensations while sleeping
- Twitchy muscles at night
- Grinding your teeth
So, as you may have noticed, there are a lot of potential symptoms or pains that can be experienced by someone who has fibromyalgia.
I repeated this often throughout the article, but I will mention it one last time: Having a few of these symptoms may not be due to fibromyalgia. Make sure to consult your doctor about your symptoms and get an official diagnosis to see what you may have.
To those who do have fibromyalgia: These are all potential symptoms of your condition. Make sure you discuss what you are feeling and, if possible, how often you experience it with your practitioner.
Hopefully, this has been helpful for those of you who have been searching for more information on fibromyalgia instead of frightening! Don’t be afraid of the long list of symptoms.
Those are just possibilities you may experience. Many of you will not experience most of these symptoms ever during the time you have fibromyalgia!
In any case, hopefully, this will help you understand your condition better or have a starting point to begin speaking to your doctor about. Good luck!