The majority of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women, meaning it can be difficult for men with FM to find patient support. I’m obviously not a male fibromyalgia patient, but I’ve encountered several who are suffering. The guilt and the fear of being perceived as weak or a whiner seems more prevalent in men.
I would venture to say that most males are encouraged as they are raised to “just suck it up.” Because of this, it may be hard to visit a doctor once FM symptoms strike for fear that you won’t be believed or get the compassion and help you need.
I would encourage men to set aside any misgivings, and have enough compassion for yourself to seek the medical help you need. It’s a very hard thing to admit to yourself and others that you’re not as infallible as you wish you were. It can be even more difficult if you are the sole breadwinner.
If you work outside the home, I would encourage you to look into the FMLA — the Family and Medical Leave Act. It’s a federal law in the U.S. requiring employers who are covered to provide their employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave each year without losing their job, and maintain their health benefits.
I think that like women, over time you need to redefine who are you are, what you are now capable of doing, and what your new priorities will be. It really helps to surround yourself with family and friends who are willing to support you on this journey. No one should have to do this alone.
Don’t let fibromyalgia defeat you! We all need reasons to keep going and not lose hope and you, incredible male fibro warrior, are no different.
Here are some resources that could prove helpful for men with fibromyalgia:
I hope that if you are a man suffering with fibromyalgia, or you know a man who is, this column has proven to be helpful.
Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments area.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.