Fibrositis and fibromyalgia are in many medical quarters taken to refer to the same condition. While fibrositis refers to an inflammatory disorder fibromyalgia does not. The signs and symptoms of the two conditions overlap a lot and so in most cases the disorder is collectively referred to as fibromyalgia. The following is a list of the many symptoms that a patient with fibromyalgia can present with. Some of the symptoms are non-specific and can be caused by other health conditions. This is one of the reasons fibromyalgia is highly under-diagnosed.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia according to body systems
- Poor reaction to physically stressful situation. Tiredness can last for up to a day after physical exertion.
- Profuse sweating
- Mild fever
- Dry eyes and or mouth
- Painful lymph nodes
- Unintended body weight changes – either gain or loss
- Food cravings
- Muscle twitches
- Vision disorders
- Severe tiredness
- Sleep disturbances. Apart from insomnia fibromyalgia patients don’t usually feel refreshed even after adequate hours of sleep.
- Generalized body ache
Brain related symptoms of fibromyalgia
These can present as cognitive, emotional or neurological disorders. They include:
- Speech disorder
- Panic attacks
- Poor orientation and coordination
- Abnormal sensation in the hands
- Failing memory of recent events
- Difficulty in learning new things
- Poor comprehension of new ideas
- Swinging moods
- Poor colour identification
- Brain ‘fogginess”
- Poor concentration
- Sensitivity to common normally harmless stimuli such as light, smells, noise and temperature. The patient usually overreacts to one or some of these.
Respiratory symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Nasal disorders such as running nose, post-nasal drip (PND), congested nostrils.
- Sore throat
- Chronic respiratory infections
- Nose bleeding
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty in breathing
- Painful ears
Digestive system disorders
- General digestive problems that may include diarrhea or constipation
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Abdominal spasms
- Piles (hemorrhoids)
Urinary tract symptoms
The main symptoms are the frequent urge to urinate and pelvic pains.
Cardiovascular symptoms of fibromyalgia
- Unusual heartbeat. It includes irregular and often fast rate
- Maybe breathing problems during pronounced heart symptoms
- Angina pain
- Impaired circulation can lead to numbness and tingling sensation in the affected areas. This may also lead to temporary swelling of the hands and feet.
- Dizziness on suddenly standing (postural hypotension)
Symptoms here include those of the nails and the hair. Common ones include:
- Markedly ridged nails.
- Spoon-shaped nails
- Pigmented skin
- Easily bruised skin
- Skin growths such as lipomas and skin tags.
Joints and connective tissues symptoms
The main symptom here is generalized stiffness that is worse in the morning. Others include:
- Joint pains
- Muscle pains
- Weak muscles and joints
Some women will experience menstrual disorders such as premenstrual syndrome and painful menses. Others include:
- Lack of sex desire
- Precocious menopause.
The symptoms of fibromyalgia differ in severity, distribution and frequency from patient to patient. For some, the symptoms are merely annoying while in others they are debilitating and may force the patient to change lifestyle or occupation. Symptoms can also differ in the same patient depending on whether the problem has subsided or it in exacerbation phase.