By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition with widespread pain, impairment of daily living functions, sleep disturbance and lack of sleep, presence of typical tender points over the body etc. There are other symptoms such as non-restorative sleep and fatigue.
About 10 million people are currently diagnosed with this disorder. Although 9 out of 10 people diagnosed are women, men also get this disorder.
Because of the high prevalence among women and the widespread and multitude of symptoms, being a parent with fibromyalgia is tough.
Some of the key points in handling parenthood when suffering from fibromyalgia include the following:-
Fibromyalgia involves feeling physical pain and fatigue among other symptoms but this does not mean a mother with the condition cannot sit and read a book or watch a movie with her children. Finding alternative ways to spend quality time with the children, helping them with their school work etc. can also lay foundations of good parenting.
It is of prime importance to explain the condition to the children. When the children know about the possible symptoms, triggers and seriousness of the condition, they can make allowances and adjustments. This helps in maintaining optimum health and energy as well as in bonding with the child.
Regular exercise programmes, yoga, Tai chi, aerobics, a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle contributes to minimal symptoms and allows for better parenting. Parents with fibromyalgia are expected to take care of themselves to have energy for spending time with the children.
Depression and anxiety disorders are common among women with fibromyalgia. These women are also more prone to stress that aggravates their symptoms of fibromyalgia. Getting diagnosed and treated for these conditions is important to prevent ill effects of these mental disorders on the family especially the children.
Associated conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, sleep disorders are symptoms that need to be addressed and controlled as much as possible for a better quality of life.
Reviewed by April Cashin-Garbutt, BA Hons (Cantab)
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2013