A symptom that many people don’t realize is linked to fibromyalgia is a rash – and if you suffer from this condition, understanding how to prevent and treat flare-ups of your sensitive skin is key to managing your symptoms and your quality of life.
In this blog post, we will explore what causes these rashes in fibromyalgia patients, common signs and symptoms, along with tips for prevention and treatment so you can finally get some relief.
Fibromyalgia’s list of symptoms is long and varied. It’s the main reason the condition is so hard to diagnose and treat. Some symptoms are more common than others, but all affect fibromyalgia patients in profound ways.
The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are widespread pain and fatigue, but these are far from the only symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia patients. Many people also experience cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, and confusion (aka “brain fog” or “fibro fog”). Other common symptoms include headaches, muscle spasms, tingling sensations in the hands and feet, sleep disturbances, skin-related symptoms that can cause rashes or other issues when exposed to certain chemicals, and depression or anxiety.
In addition to the more common symptoms, some people with fibromyalgia may also experience additional, less-common symptoms. These can include dizziness, bladder problems, dry eyes and mouth, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), vision disturbances such as blurred vision or photophobia (sensitivity to light), and numbness or tingling in the extremities.
A tiny percentage of fibromyalgia patients experience itching with no identified cause. Researchers theorize that people with fibromyalgia develop changes in their central nervous system, which cause them to experience alterations in pain signals from their brains.
These changes can result in crawling or itching sensations under the skin that, when scratched, send severe skin pain signals to the brain. Other patients experience skin pain that, even light touch makes the skin pain worse – some describe it as feeling like their skin is on fire.
These instances are very uncommon, but for those who suffer from this situation, the symptoms are excruciating.
Causes of Fibromyalgia Rash
A variety of different factors can cause fibromyalgia rashes, some of which are related to the condition itself and some of which are unrelated. One cause may be an allergic reaction to certain substances. For example, exposure to chemicals or fabrics may trigger an itchy skin rash in people with fibromyalgia.
Additionally, those with fibromyalgia may be more prone to skin infections or irritations due to their extreme skin sensitivities. Other causes of a fibromyalgia rash can include stress, hormonal changes, and medication side effects. Common OTC pain medications can cause itching as a side effect, so it’s important to rule those out as a cause if you’re experiencing this symptom.
Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia Rash
There are a variety of options available to treat skin rashes. The first option is to identify and avoid the source of the problem, if possible. For example, if you know that certain chemicals or fabrics trigger your rashes, then you should do your best to avoid them. Additionally, you may want to consider switching to a hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
Applying over-the-counter creams or ointments, such as cooling gels or anti-itch ointments, can help soothe skin and provide some relief from itching and discomfort. Additionally, oral antihistamines can be helpful in reducing the severity of your symptoms.
Talk to Your Doctor
Finally, if over-the-counter medications aren’t providing adequate relief, then you may need to consult with your doctor about prescription treatments. Your doctor may recommend topical or oral steroids, antibiotics, or other medications to help manage your symptoms.
Preventing Fibromyalgia Rash
The best way to deal with a fibromyalgia rash is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. You can do this by avoiding triggers or irritants that cause rashes.
Avoid Hot Water
Take lukewarm showers or baths rather than using hot water. Hot water dries the skin out and can lead to an even more severe itching feeling.
Avoid Skin Products Containing Perfume/Artificial Ingredients
Perfumes and artificial ingredients are more likely to irritate your skin. Try to use only all-natural products.
Moisturize Immediately After Bathing/Showering
As soon as you get out of the tub or shower, gently pat your skin dry, and then moisturize with a natural, fragrance-free lotion. This will help your skin retain moisture longer and be less itchy.
Talk To Your Doctor
If you are taking medications for your fibromyalgia, it’s also important to discuss any potential side effects with your doctor so that you can take steps to prevent them.
Final Thoughts on Managing Your Symptoms
Managing fibromyalgia rashes can be a challenge, but it’s possible with the right prevention and treatment strategies. Identifying triggers or irritants that cause your rash is essential to avoid flare-ups in the future.
Taking lukewarm showers or baths, using all-natural products without artificial ingredients, moisturizing post-bathing/showering, and talking to your doctor about medication side effects are just some steps you can take to prevent fibromyalgia skin issues from taking over your life.
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