Posts tagged ‘pain’

15 May 2012

Fibromyalgia and sexuality

Fibromyalgia affects 2 to 5% of world population and many people affected are living in industrialized countries. 80% of sufferers are women. The disease usually begins between 30 and 50 but children and teens may also be affected. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized fibromyalgia only in 1992. Previously, people were discriminated against because he had not yet officially recognized. 20 years later, several people said they had to fight for their diagnostic recognition among government agencies.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by many signs and symptoms and vary from person to person, which is why it is called a syndrome. It is not fatal but it is a disease which is very challenging and often prevents the sufferer to perform daily activities. Fibromyalgia is incurable, it can not heal but  the symptoms are treated.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia [1]

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread pain and diffuse, mainly muscle, associated with chronic fatigue and sleep disturbances. However, symptoms vary from person to person. Moreover, climate, time of day, stress levels and physical activity are factors that influence the severity of symptoms and their variability over time. Some of the symptoms:

  • Diffuse muscle pains that are accompanied by morning stiffness, and specific locations of the body painful to touch. The neck and shoulders are usually the first place painful, followed by the back, chest, arms and legs.
  • In extreme situations, a simple touch or even a touch causes pain throughout the body. The pain may be accompanied by the feeling that sore areas are swollen.
  • Constant pain, but aggravated by the efforts, cold, humidity, and lack of emotions.
  •  A lightweight and non-restorative sleep, causing fatigue upon awakening.
  • Persistent fatigue (all day), in 9 of 10 cases. The rest does not make it disappear.
  • Headaches or severe headaches, possibly caused by muscle tension in neck and shoulders, and a disruption of the natural ways of controlling pain.
  • An irritable bowel syndrome: diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain.
  • Depression or anxiety (in approximately one third of persons with fibromyalgia).
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Increased acuity of the senses, an increased sensitivity to odors, light, noise and temperature changes (in addition to sensitivity to touch).
  • Numbness and tingling hands and feet.
  • Painful menstruation and premenstrual syndrome marked.
  •  An irritable bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis).

Fibromyalgia: Couple and Sexuality

Many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia affect the sexuality of people. When the pain is obvious, the first thing that might be affected is the libido.

Medication can affect sexual function in many ways and your doctor may suggest a new medication that would have less impact on your sexuality. The negative effects of drugs are found in different phases of sexual response:

  • Sexual desire may be numb by the medication: not responding  to stimuli that previously made you want to have a more active sexuality.
  • Excitement: When intercourse is started, men will have a hard time to achieve or maintain an erection and it becomes difficult to be motivated to continue. Lubrication in women is minimal or absent.
  • Orgasm and ejaculation: the desire and arousal are present but you can not (or only with extraordinary efforts) to have an orgasm or to ejaculate  for men.

Pain during intercourse or genital fondling:

Some may develop genital pain during intercourse, they will greatly affect sexual activity in marriage. To have more information, the Human Sexuality Reseach Laboratory of University of Ottawa   advises women with these disorders. You will find on his website full of tips to help you.

Couple, Communication & Comfort

The key when you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia is to keep communication open in your relationship. When frustration becomes too large, couples can begin to avoid talking about sensitive issues for fear of hurting each other and the situation can escalate. If this happens to you, it is good advice to consult a sexologist before giving up. Sexology also implies affection, communication, and of course sexuality. Consult before a third person opens new horizons and help find solutions and practical advices for both of you. Sexuality implies expressing love for each other and live in greater relational intimacy.

Be comfortable

You read about it, you do whatever it takes and still, the pain prevents you from accessing the pleasure. You do gentle stretches, the room is at the right temperature, a cozy little music is playing, the linens are fresh and soft, you have a small heating pad  you can use if you need it and you have a water-based lubricant in case. That is a good starting point to begin ….

That’s it, you’re fit and want to be sexual but you can not find a comfortable position long enough. Have you considered a more suitable furniture for you and your partner? To find a position where you will not be crushed under the weight of the partner or a position that will not ask you to balance for too long is not always obvious.

Some furniture is designed for sexuality, research on the Internet and find furniture or accessories that will help your sex life. Some sex toys may also help you to please your male partner unless you have too much effort like this Tantra chair.

Tantra Chair

There are toys for men  called masturbators and you can use them together when you want to have an intimate moment. Sophisticated or smaller, they can be useful at times. If the pain bothers you too, do not hesitate to visit a sex shop to see if certain toys could help you maintain a sexually active life.

Finally, this small article is intended as an overview of the different areas affected by fibromyalgia. The main objective is to enable you to discuss sexuality in your marriage and to present some solutions. There are alternatives to pain, it’s up to you to discover and adapt to your married life.

For information on men with fibromyalgia, you might want to check this website:  Men with fibro

(1) Passeportsante.net free traduction

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