Fibromyalgia is a chronic, long term-condition that affects the soft tissues and muscles throughout the body. It causes widespread pain, which is the primary complaint. Also, it may cause some vogue symptoms such as mood problems, fatigue, and other discomforts. Some patients find that they have a flare-up of acne when the symptoms worsen. Does the disease cause acne, too?
The first thing you need to understand, there are many factors that contribute to cause acne. But the main one is when hair follicles (tinny holes in your skin where hairs grow) become blocked.
Hair follicles have tiny glands called sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible to lubricate the skin and hair by producing sebum (oily substance). Without adequate lubrication, your skin and hair will easily dry out.
The plugged follicle can cause a blackhead or a whitehead. If it is open to the skin surface, it may darken (blackhead). Alternatively if it causes the wall of the follicle to bulge outwards, it creates a whitehead. In some cases, it gets infected with bacteria and inflammation occurs, because bacteria can thrive easily in a plugged pore.
Though the exact cause of acne varies from person to person – in general, the following factors can make the problem more likely:
- The fluctuation of certain hormones. For example, some women often find acne flare-ups just before and during their menstrual periods. Also, acne is common during puberty because androgens (also known as puberty hormone) often drive the sebaceous glands to release more sebum.
- Psychological problems, stress for example, can sometimes make your breakouts more likely.
- Medications, such as some containing lithium, corticosteroids, or androgens, can sometimes worsen acne.
What else? The following factors may also have a little effect (still debatable):
- Particular dietary factors. Eating foods high in carbohydrates, dairy products, or greasy foods might make pimples worsen – though this can vary from person to person!
- Cosmetic factors. Oily makeup might have potential to clog pores, especially if you don’t remove it before going to bed.
How about dirty skin? Though some people believe that acne is sometimes caused by dirt, many experts say that it has nothing to do with dirt!
The tenderness and pain of fibromyalgia can interfere with your daily life. The pain can worsen or improve at different times, or sometimes it can also be continuous. You can have it throughout the body, though it could also be more painful (worse) in particular areas especially such as the neck and back.
What does fibromyalgia feel like? This may vary. It could feel like a burning sensation, a constant muscle (dull) ache, or stabbing /sharp pain. It can be widespread – you may have it above & below the waist, also both sides of the body.
Though widespread pain is the main symptom, fibromyalgia can also cause many other discomforts such as; fatigue, difficulty sleeping /sleep problems, headaches, stiffness (in the morning when you first wake up, for example, the disease may make you stiff), extreme sensitivity (even sometimes a slightest touch could be painful enough), and cognitive problems (like difficulty concentrating). Sometimes it may cause painful menstrual periods.
Also, fibromyalgia may co-exist with other health conditions such as bladder syndrome (interstitial cystitis), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), joint disorders (like temporomandibular disease), restless leg syndrome, anxiety and depression.
Fortunately, it is not a progressive disease. Though currently there is no curative therapy, treatments are available to control the disease and improve the symptoms. So over time, it won’t continuously worsen.
The answer is not yet set in stone, still debatable. In general, many experts say that fibromyalgia has nothing to do with acne. Even if the disease does have an effect on the skin, this can vary from person to person.
Acne in patients with fibromyalgia is quite common. Some may also experience chronic skin conditions such as dry skin, rosacea, and itchy skin. But this doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find evidence directly linking the two. And if the disease does have a role to affect the skin, it’s not clear exactly why!
As mentioned before, acne can be attributed by a number of different factors. So it’s not always easy to find the exact cause of the problem. But if you do believe that your fibromyalgia does have an effect of your acne flare-ups, this may occur with the following ways: