When you’re in pain, it can be difficult to do the simplest of tasks let alone engage in sexual activity. Sufferers of fibromyalgia know that all too well. According to HealthyWomen.org, fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain and a reduced pressure pain threshold.
People with fibromyalgia may also experience fatigue, sleep disturbances, stiffness, deep tenderness, soreness and achiness, increased headaches or facial pain, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness and problems multitasking. Based on that, it’s pretty easy to see why this condition can negatively affect a person’s sex life.
Fibromyalgia-Symptoms.org described what physically happens to sufferers. Fibromyalgia leads to pain in the muscles; this creates pressure and squeezing in the pelvic area and in the lower back.
During intercourse, these muscles cramp, creating a lot of discomfort for the individual. As a result, sexual intercourse becomes associated with negative physical sensations and is avoided.
Many doctors have said that making a few changes may help fibromyalgia patients begin to enjoy sex again. And that’s a good thing because sex boosts a person’s endorphins.
Dr. Theresa Lawrence-Ford of Duluth, Georgia told ABC News, "Sex can decrease pain because it releases positive hormones like endorphins. Endorphins decrease physical and emotional distress, enabling patients to reclaim their sensual life and sexual intimacy."
One of the first things to do is check medication. Fibromyalgia-Symptoms.org said drugs prescribed to individuals with fibromyalgia often contain high levels of serotonin, a hormone that results in decreased libido and a decreased erectile ability.
WebMD advised a simple change of medication or a reduction in dose may improve your sex drive and allow you to enjoy your relationships more.
Another option is talking with a health care provider to learn techniques to self-manage fibromyalgia symptoms. This can be done by reducing stress, regular exercise and lifestyle changes.
WebMD also recommended moist heat. This includes warm baths as they can help ease fibromyalgia pain and may allow patients to enjoy sexual intercourse or any exercise without added pain. Heat increases blood flow to the site and decreases stiffness – a symptom of fibromyalgia.
People with fibromyalgia and their partners can work together to determine more comfortable sexual positions. Depending on the type of pain, partners may be on the side, on the top or use pillows during sexual intercourse.
WebMD tells people with fibromyalgia that just because they've "always had sex this way," doesn’t mean that's the only way. Be patient, take it slowly, and find the best sexual positions that allow partners to be intimate without causing further pain.
Reviewed July 13, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton