Can endometriosis cause fibromyalgia?
My wife has endometriosis and fibromyalgia. I found that women who have endometriosis are more likely to have other conditions, oftentimes fibromyalgia. So by asking can endometriosis cause fibromyalgia, my answer is a definite yes!
Based on sources like this one, and on my wife’s personal experience, I can openly confirm that endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia.
Those women who suffer from endometriosis are more likely to have fibromyalgia but also chronic fatigue syndrome. The three conditions oftentimes go hand in hand.
Both illnesses, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia, cause my wife to experience debilitating chronic fatigue. So far, she didn’t develop CFS just yet, but sometimes I wonder, how close she is to it?
She can struggle to get out of bed for many days, sometimes even weeks at a time. It is hard to watch. I feel so sorry for her…
Fibromyalgia syndrome involves whole-bodied pain in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This pain is intensified by endometriosis pain.
Endometriosis, on its own, is a whole-body disease. People often make mistakes by saying that endometriosis only involves pelvic and lower body areas. Endometriosis can affect any part of the body if left untreated. It can be found in the lungs, eyes, and even the brain.
People with endometriosis are more likely to have asthma, allergies, and also skin condition such as eczema, and yes – you guessed it – my wife has all of the above.
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Basic endometriosis and fibromyalgia facts.
For women who have endometriosis, tissue similar to the lining of their uterus grows in other parts of the abdominal cavity and sometimes outside of it.
The endometrial tissue often attaches itself to the ovaries, the outside of the uterus, the intestines, or other surrounding organs.
Endometriosis may cause either infertility or pelvic pain, sometimes both, but it has been shown that some women with endo may not experience symptoms at all. It is not the size of endometriosis lesions that affect it but their placement and depth.
The researchers also found that often family members of women with endometriosis had the disease, so there is a genetic component to it.
The NPSR1 has been identified as a genetic cause of endometriosis. If you need more information, here’s the link.
Women who have fibromyalgia experience chronic fatigue, widespread pain, tenderness throughout the body, brain fog, and more. The condition affects both sexes, but as many as 80% of women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
Even though anyone can get fibro, hormones are thought to be the most possible explanation for this chronic condition. This is where endometriosis plays a big role in developing fibromyalgia.
My own and others’ research.
Endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia as the likelihood of women with endometriosis having a number of other disorders to the likelihood of “healthy women” is much greater.
Such conditions include autoimmune disorders in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. The most common are CFS and fibro.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes a terrible feeling of fatigue that lasts for at least 6 months or more, and fibromyalgia causes recurrent pain in the muscles, tendons, nerves, and ligaments.
But there are also other endocrine disorders linked to endometriosis, such as allergies or asthma, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and even multiple sclerosis.
My wife often worries that she has multiple sclerosis (MS) because the symptoms can mimic those of fibromyalgia.
As you can see, it is all complex. Talking some numbers and statistics, the researchers found that 61% of the women with endometriosis reported allergies, as compared to 18% of the general female population, and 12% of women had asthma, as opposed to 5%.
Studies showed that if a woman had endo and endocrine disease, the percentage with allergies rose to 72%, and if a woman had endometriosis with fibromyalgia or CFS, the allergies rate is as high as 88%.
So endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia and much more. I personally met a few women who have endometriosis and fibromyalgia at the same time.
One of the ladies I met at one of my wife’s endometriosis support groups had to use crutches to walk. My wife used them too at one point. Here’s the evidence of my wife’s limping…
Does fibromyalgia make endometriosis worse?
Not only endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia, but fibromyalgia also makes endometriosis worse, and vice versa.
The South West Pine and Pain blog says the following:
“According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), women with endometriosis are more likely to have other chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. That said, many women wonder why these two conditions are related and if there are treatment options that can mitigate the two disorders.”
As many as 31% of women with endometriosis had also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but although researchers are unsure as to why both conditions are linked, it’s clear that they are.
But how does fibromyalgia make endometriosis worse?
Both conditions overlap. Endometriosis alone is an insidious condition that causes different kinds of pain at the same time. By adding to it pain from fibromyalgia, it becomes unbearable.
My wife had many suicidal thoughts because the pain was impossible to bear. If I wasn’t there for her at the time, she would have committed to it.
I’ve seen my wife suddenly crunch in extreme stabbing pain, she explained this pain as being stabbed with many knives, but at the same time, there was added pain of having her insides pulled down, as she described.
This pain comes out of nowhere, it is unexpected, sharp, and short, but it is followed by nerve pain, and sometimes cramping pain in her legs. That is only endometriosis-related pain.
Other symptoms also come to play, so not only does fibromyalgia make endometriosis pain worse, but other symptoms also multiply.
Endometriosis symptoms alone are challenging to manage, and fibromyalgia symptoms alone are difficult to bare too. Imagine mixing them both together…
The doubled amount of pain, doubled fatigue, confusion, brain fog, anxiety over the future, and depression over the loss of your health. It can drive anyone crazy!
Adding to it the invisible factor to both illnesses, the disbelief of others, the loss of social life, the effect they have on work, the financial strain, and the overall physical, emotional, and mental impacts, it makes women feel like a burden to everyone, it makes them suicidal.
Can fibromyalgia affect your uterus?
Yes, fibromyalgia can affect your uterus. The menstrual period cramps can be mild, but they can also be extremely painful, depending on the woman.
My wife’s fibromyalgia causes her to have more painful periods than usual. Sometimes the pain fluctuates with her menstrual cycle.
For most women with fibromyalgia who are between the ages of 40 to 55, their symptoms feel worse when postmenopausal, but also those (like my wife) who are perimenopausal or experience menopause. My wife is 46.
Menopause with fibromyalgia increases feelings of:
The body produces 40% less estrogen after menopause. Estrogen plays a huge role in controlling serotonin, which controls pain and mood, it also plays a role in the growth of endometriosis.
Less estrogen means fewer endo-related symptoms, but some fibromyalgia symptoms can mirror symptoms of perimenopause or menopause itself. These symptoms include:
- lack of quality sleep
- trouble with memory
Can endometriosis be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia?
We answered already that endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia, but can endometriosis be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia?
Any chronic pain disorder can be difficult to diagnose. When it comes to fibromyalgia, people usually have symptoms such as muscle, joint, or nerve pain, but this also includes pelvic pain. Fibro can be mistaken for endometriosis.
Both conditions take many years to diagnose. This adds up to the problem. Many symptoms overlap and mimic one another when it comes to endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
Women with either of the illnesses experience symptoms like:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Uterine infections
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Anxiety and depression
- Painful sex
So to wrap things up – can endometriosis cause fibromyalgia? Yes – endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia, and it does for 31% of women with endo.
Pain is a common symptom of endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Women with endometriosis tend to experience chronic pelvic pain, and women with fibromyalgia may experience persistent and widespread pain. But they often overlap.
Women with endometriosis are at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia and other chronic neurological conditions that cause widespread pain and fatigue, among other symptoms.
I believe that stress caused by endometriosis triggered my wife’s fibromyalgia. She believes that too.
Inflammation in the body increases a person’s risk of a variety of other chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, IBS, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.
The studies and my wife’s personal experience speak for themselves – endometriosis can cause fibromyalgia.
Before you go, if you are interested in finding more about fibromyalgia, I wrote a “Fibromyalgia for Caring Partners” e-Book. You can get the 1st chapter FREE!
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Fibromyalgia for Caring Men
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…