Why Are Skin Complaints So Common With Fibromyalgia?
Your skin is your biggest organ – it covers your whole body, so it’s important to make sure that you take good care of it. That being said, there are a lot of issues that you can have with your skin when you have fibromyalgia.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at why our skin is so sensitive when we have this disorder, and what disorders we may have to deal with when we’re struggling with fibromyalgia.
Why Does Your Skin Get So Affected by Fibromyalgia?
As you know, fibromyalgia is an excess of pain caused by hypersensitive stimuli – basically, your nervous system is screaming at you when something shouldn’t even be giving you any sort of pain or anguish in the first place. It’s giving you signals that aren’t really there.
This is referred to as hyperalgesia – which literally means “excess pain.” This excess pain can happen almost anywhere, but because your skin is the largest organ in your body and it has most of the nerve endings that you are dealing with, it’s no wonder that our skin becomes hypersensitive to a number of things.
All that being said, just because the skin is hypersensitive doesn’t mean that we have another disorder. The issue happens when we start to see additional pain, either past what we are already dealing with as a result of the fibromyalgia, or that may be acting differently from what the fibromyalgia was doing to our bodies in the first place. That’s where your doctor is going to step in.
If you sit and take a look at your usual symptoms, and keep track of them throughout a period of time, you’ll be able to compare and contrast and see if things are changing. Your specialist can then use that information in order to determine whether the skin issues that you are having are because of the hyperalgesia from your fibromyalgia, or if it is due to another skin disorder that has come up alongside of the disorder.
What Skin Disorders are Related to Fibromyalgia?
There are a variety of different disorders that can be related to fibromyalgia, or that will go hand in hand with the disease. Here are just a few of the skin disorders that you may have to deal with if you have fibromyalgia.
Important note: This list is not conclusive, and is only meant to be a guide – don’t try to diagnose these issues on your own. If you suspect that you’ve got something going on, a medical professional will be able to assist you and give you an idea of what you need to do to care for it.
Dermatographism. This condition is quite odd, and is also referred to as “skin writing.” Imagine that you have a bump or a bug bite that itches, and you scratch it. You know how, sometimes, you’ll see the little red marks if you scratch too hard? They go away in a few seconds, right? That’s not what happens in Dermatographism.
You get an itchy spot (usually a rash or a raised area/bump) and, if you scratch it, the area that you scratch ends up getting raised as well. You may also see little bumps up and down your arms and legs. In some cases, a towel or even clothes against your skin can cause this reaction. The welts are really what show you that you have this issue, and because your nervous system is already struggling due to the problems with your fibromyalgia, your body isn’t exactly able to deal with it in a healthy way. The flare ups of Dermatographism will last about a half an hour to an hour, and then it will clear up and you will find relief.
Rosacea. You’ve likely heard of this issue before, especially if you or your family or friends are over the age of 30. Rosacea occurs when the cheeks have a rosy red glow, but they don’t really have a reason to do so. The skin around your nose, forehead, and cheeks turns red and sometimes swells up as well. This happens because the little vessels in your skin get swollen.
You’re usually quite itchy and it’s hard to get comfortable when your cheeks are having a breakout. Even though the disorder doesn’t usually have any sort of cause, fibromyalgia usually goes hand in hand with it. Anything can cause your rosacea to flare up, and it can get even worse if you have fibromyalgia.
Tactile Allodynia. This is, possibly, the saddest thing that people with fibromyalgia have to deal with if they have a skin disorder related to their fibromyalgia. This skin disorder makes it difficult for anything to make contact with the skin. The name, in Latin, literally means “a reaction to a typically non-painful touch.”
So even if your spouse touched your arm, or you rolled over on an area that was in pain, the tactile allodynia would make it so that you felt excruciating pain, perhaps more than you’d ever felt before in your entire life. As you’d expect, this is because of the overstimulated nervous system, and as a result, your skin is just acting crazy and not giving you the proper stimuli that it should be giving you. A caress is now a painful touch, and it’s just a miserable place for you to be.
Taking care of your skin is absolutely vital when you have fibromyalgia, as you can see from what we’ve discussed here. By keeping it moisturized and making sure that you take note of any major rashes or other problems with it, you can make sure that it stays healthy and you can avoid major issues that may make your fibromyalgia worse. If you are concerned about your skin’s condition or you are looking for a diagnosis, you will want to contact your doctor as soon as possible in order to make sure that you don’t get a flare up.