Women are 10 times more likely than men to get fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes fatigue and muscle and joint pain. And for some of these women, there’s one time each month when fibromyalgia symptoms and pain become worse—their period.
The part of your nervous system responsible for regulating your periods is sensitive to any changes that your body experiences, including symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and other conditions.“Many women report an increase in fibromyalgia symptoms just prior to their periods and during menses,”says Sawsan As-Sanie, MD, MPH, assistant professor, department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Overall pain and sensitivity change during the menstrual cycle.”
Fibromyalgia’s effects on the menstrual cycle are individual, and not all women have increased fibromyalgia pain or other symptoms. However, any symptom that is really bothersome to a fibromyalgia patient, explains Dr. As-Sanie, may get worse during her menstrual period.