6 Mammogram Tips for Fibromyalgia Sufferers

Mammograms offer women peace of mind and are an important tool in the fight against breast cancer. While the majority of women dread them, the fear can be much greater for those who suffer from fibromyalgia.

MORE: Seven tips for managing pregnancy and early motherhood with fibromyalgia

Both 2D and 3D mammograms obtain an image of a woman’s breast tissue by compressing the breasts. Each breast is usually compressed both widthwise and lengthwise, with each compression lasting around 30 seconds. The compressions are uncomfortable for most, but those who have fibromyalgia may be concerned that the procedure will be painful.

Chief medical officer at Solis Mammography, Dr. Stephen Rose, offers tips to help make mammograms as stress-free as possible for fibromyalgia patients.

Breasts can feel more tender before and during a woman’s period, so planning the mammogram for a week after should help alleviate some of the compression pain.

Speak to the mammography technologist about any concerns you have. These are highly-trained professionals who ae skilled at getting breast images with the minimum amount of pain or discomfort.

Mammogram screening rooms are generally kept at a cool temperature. If you’re sensitive to the cold, ask if you can wear a robe or cape to help keep your back and shoulders warm.  You will only need to remove the clothes on the top half of your body, so dressing in separates rather than dresses may help you stay warm during the procedure.

If the technologist’s hands are cold, you could ask them to use hand warmers or wear gloves.

MORE: Five types of exercise that can relieve fibro pain.

Standing or Seated?
You should be able to choose to sit down during the mammogram if you think it will make you feel more comfortable.

Recovery Between Compressions
There is no need to speed through your mammogram. If you need to take a break between compressions then don’t be afraid to tell the technologist.

Worrying about an upcoming mammogram can often be much worse than the mammogram itself. To alleviate some of the stress, try some relaxation techniques ahead of your appointment. It’s also important to choose a mammogram center that you feel safe and welcome in, and bring a friend or family member along for support if you need it.

MORE: Fibromyalgia patients found to have common viruses.

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 another 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.

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