Fibromyalgia breaks apart lives. This we know.
The lives of men with Fibromyalgia are affected in a different, but equally severe manner when compared to women with the syndrome. As an illness that affects less than 10% of men in United States, Fibromyalgia leaves many males feeling especially inadequate about the state of their body and their role in the world. Women can at least find a support group of other female sufferers (such as the “spoonies” on Twitter [which includes men but they are scarce!]), while men (including several in my family), get pushed to the side, as they feel like they don’t belong, and never find reasonable treatment for their illness.
More women than men have Fibromyalgia, as having estrogen reduces the pain threshold (according to WebMD). But men need to realize that this illness will benefit from their support. There is still a slanted bias that this illness is based on mental health, which is partially true as it is neurochemical, but not necessarily associated with hysteria (at least unwarranted hysteria haha). If more men took an active role in talking about this illness and looking for help, we could likely have more research take place in order to bring in increasingly useful treatments.
It is likely many men are undiagnosed, as they are less apt to go to a doctor when they feel unwell. However, they are more likely to develop suicidal tendencies (sadly, a common occurrence with this illness). It is however, much more rare for men to get Fibromyalgia at the same severity seen in some women (due again to different hormonal and neurochemical levels).
If you are a man with Fibromyalgia, I recommend a forum like www.menwithfibro.com. The understanding that one can get from meeting fellow people with the same symptoms is amazing. The National Fibromyalgia Association also has a section of information for men with Fibromyalgia, found here: Men and Fibromyalgia. There are some wonderful testimonials.
Men with this illness – know that the females affected are here for you. Support can be found all around. One just has to take the plunge.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.