Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Fibromyalgia Often Unspotted during Pregnancy

Fibromyalgia is a serious disorder of suspected neurological origin manifested by intense, recidivating muscular pain, joint stiffness, pronounced sate of generalized fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, irritability, increased sensitivity to external stimuli and depression. At present, the exact causes and risk factors of the disease are unknown, fibromyalgia still being regarded as an enigma among the medical community.

There is no specific cure for fibromyalgia and the treatments available today are only partially efficient in slowing down the progression of the disease and alleviating its generated symptoms. In addition, due to the lack of conclusive medical data on fibromyalgia and the deceiving character of the symptoms it produces (the symptoms of fibromyalgia have an unspecific, general character, being also produced by a variety of other diseases that aren’t related to fibromyalgia), the disease can be very difficult to diagnose properly. In persons with special conditions (existing or past neuropsychological diseases, pregnant women, etc.), fibromyalgia is even more difficult to diagnose accurately and more important, timely.

Recent medical investigations have revealed the fact that fibromyalgia is often overlooked during pregnancy. According to the results of elaborate medical research conducted by a team of medical scientists from Temple University, the symptoms of fibromyalgia experienced by pregnant women are very often misdiagnosed as regular clinical manifestations of pregnancy. While symptoms such as intense pain, generalized fatigue and pronounced psychological stress generally point to fibromyalgia, their occurrence in pregnant women determine most doctors to think that they are a normal part of pregnancy, not indicators of disease.

In order to accurately distinguish between the early signs of fibromyalgia and the normal clinical manifestations of pregnancy in future mothers, doctors are currently focusing on establishing more reliable criteria of diagnosis, which would completely eliminate the existing confusion between normal indicators of pregnancy and the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Once they will discover efficient methods of identifying the symptoms of fibromyalgia in pregnant women, doctors will focus on reducing the impact of the disease in future mothers.

A very recent medical study has clearly revealed that the symptoms of fibromyalgia are very difficult to detect during pregnancy. However, the same study has concluded that there are ways to detect the presence of fibromyalgia in pregnant women by comparing their symptoms to those of pregnant women in good health. In addition, the researchers claimed that the presence of fibromyalgia in such categories of patients can also be spotted by verifying the patients’ medical history.

The study involved the participation of pregnant women with and without fibromyalgia. The volunteers were between the ages of 29 and 31, pregnant in the third trimester and had no history of premature, complicated birth or abortion. All the subjects who participated in the study had no chronic illnesses other than fibromyalgia and most of them were actually in perfect health. By the end of the study, the conclusions were that the signs of fibromyalgia can be distinguished from the clinical manifestations of pregnancy with already existing methods of diagnosis.

For instance, compared with the group of pregnant women without fibromyalgia, the group with the disease experienced exacerbated pain (perceived through the entire body), states of exhaustion and even states of mental confusion. Although it is extremely difficult to timely and accurately detect the presence of fibromyalgia in pregnant women, the researchers have demonstrated that this task is not impossible. Medical scientists have recently initiated a new series of studies, aiming to discover more effective, reliable methods of diagnosing fibromyalgia during pregnancy.