Fibromyalgia syndrome affects about 5 million people in the U.S. today. Eighty to ninety percent of them are women. Most women are diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 55 years… which raises an interesting question. This age range coincides with the onset of menopause in most women! Could there be a link between estrogen and fibromyalgia that could lead to a new treatment for this debilitating disease?
A recent study of the estrogen and fibromyalgia phenomenon has indicated that administering estrogen replacement therapy to patients with fibromyalgia, does not reduce pain. And you need to keep in mind that there is a risk in long-term use of estrogen, including breast cancer and cardiovascular problems. However, there seem to be some positive effects in treating the other symptoms of fibromyalgia like fatigue, sleep and mood disorders (anxiety and depression).
Estrogen and fibromyalgia together play a significant role in the severity of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), where women with fibromyalgia experience more serious symptoms including back pain, abdominal cramps, insomnia and headaches. Women with issues of estrogen and fibromyalgia are also far more likely to have dysmenorrhea and breast cysts along with their PMS… and women with fibromyalgia have more severe pregnancy symptoms as well as an increased level of pain, fatigue, and muscle stiffness. During their menstrual cycle, these women will also be more likely to experience emotional distress and mental fog and confusion, than women who don’t have fibromyalgia.
Estrogen Dominance and Fibromyalgia
The estrogen and fibromyalgia connection can be more symptomatic in cases of estrogen dominance. In pre-menopausal women, estrogen dominance is a condition in which the body’s estrogen level is not in balance with progesterone. It doesn’t matter if the level of estrogen in the body is low, normal or high… there isn’t enough progesterone to create a natural balance. What can cause this imbalance? We get extra estrogen from a great many outside sources which include: birth-control pills, commercially-fed cattle and poultry, from our health and beauty products (absorbed through the skin), from our body-fat (in obesity, fat converts to estrogen), caffeinated drinks like coffee (which stimulates the body to produce estrogen) and stress from adrenal gland fatigue… to name a few.
Some symptoms of estrogen dominance (more details and symptoms can be found online through the Natural Progesterone Advisory) which can mimic other diseases like fibromyalgia, diabetes and hypothyroidism, are:
- Brain fog
- Cold feet and hands
- Depression and anxiety
- Chronic fatigue
- Migraines and headaches
- Decreased sex drive and Infertility
- Cervical dysplasia
- Dry eye syndrome
- Body fat increase around the mid-section
- Water retention
- Memory loss
- Increased irritability
- Thyroid conditions
- Irregular menstrual cycle and PMS
This is not to say that estrogen dominance only mimics fibromyalgia. A person with estrogen issues may also be suffering with fibromyalgia as well. But the estrogen and fibromyalgia connection makes these conditions much more difficult for doctors to diagnose. Treatment for estrogen dominance is usually synthetic progestin. However, there is a problem with side-effects, many of which can be at least as miserable as fibromyalgia and include joint and muscle pain, weight gain, bloating, fatigue, depression, and so on.
Only your physician can determine the best treatment approach for a dominant estrogen and fibromyalgia patient-condition. The trick, it seems, is to find a balance in the estrogen and fibromyalgia symptom treatments.
For the patient, make sure that you keep records on the symptoms of estrogen and fibromyalgia, and results of prescribed treatments, to help your doctor make the best medication decisions for your specific condition. And to support whatever treatment your doctor recommends for your estrogen and fibromyalgia connection, you can benefit from:
- A fibromyalgia exercise program
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Beginning a nutritional program to rebuild your body from the inside out.
Because fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease, there is a need to strengthen your body at the cellular level where the damage by your immune system is being done… as recognized by the AMA. For more information on natural treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms, contact me now by clicking on one of the links below.