By Wyatt Myers | Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD
#2 Fibro Fog/Brain Fog
Also called “brain fog,” this is a very serious fibromyalgia symptom that leaves many people in distress. “Brain fog or fibro fog is a classic component of the energy crisis we call fibromyalgia,” says Teitelbaum. Some of the common signs of fibro fog include a difficulty with word finding or substitution, loss of short-term memory, and occasionally even episodic disorientation that lasts for about 30 to 60 seconds. “With this disease, calling one’s husband by another man’s name is not a Freudian slip,” Teitelbaum notes. He explains that there is no single cause for fibro fog; rather, it can be caused by a combination of many factors including low thyroid levels, poor sleep, hidden infections such as Candida, and alterations in blood flow to the temporal lobes of the brain, which regulate speech.
Stephen Soloway, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in Vineland, N.J., attributes much of the difficulties with fibro fog to sleep issues affecting people with fibromyalgia. Practicing good sleep hygiene and getting help from a sleep specialist may be useful.
Paresthesia is an unexplained feeling of tingling and numbness that people with fibromyalgia may experience. Often it’s related to anxiety or nervousness over the disorder and can be accompanied by rapid, deep breathing. This in turn can lead to acroparesthesia, a tingling in the hands and feet from lack of carbon dioxide. Considering that anxiety is a major player in parasthesia, the stress relief techniques recommended for fibromyalgia patients can help. Exercise can also play a role in treatment.
These benign fatty tumors that can appear as lumps in various parts of the body are not directly related to fibromyalgia, but they may cause you to experience more discomfort than the average person does. This may be related to where the lipomas develop — parts of the body that are susceptible to the excessive or inappropriate pain that patients experience, explains Elliot Rosenstein, MD, director of the Institute for Rheumatic and Autoimmune Diseases at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J. “Alternatively, these may be fibro-fatty nodules or localized areas of muscle spasm.”
#5 Excessive Sweating
Some people with fibromyalgia perspire heavily and may even believe they have a fever. This is due to what’s called an autonomic dysfunction within the hypothalamus, the almond-sized area in the brain that controls sleep and regulates sweating, bowel movements, and other automatic body functions. “The autonomic dysfunction causes the increase in sweating,” Teitelbaum says. Some medications and lifestyle changes that can keep you cool and dry may help with this fibromyalgia symptom.