Fibromyalgia is a condition you’ve likely not heard of, but actress Olivia Munn has revealed she was diagnosed with the chronic disorder two years ago.
Munn, who has appeared in films like X-Men and shows such as New Girl, told People that she had to “re-learn” how to care for her body after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
“I wasn’t really sure what was going on with me,” Munn said. “I was going through a lot of different ailments for years and not knowing what was happening.”
It took a team of five doctors to diagnose Munn with the common, but incurable, disorder which can cause muscle pain, fatigue and memory loss.
Munn added: “I had to change my wellness routine pretty significantly.
“I had to be super thoughtful about what I put into my body. I had to start eating gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free — I had to cut out a lot of things that I was used to having every day and things that I really loved.”
What is Fibromyalgia?
The condition is said to affect seven times as many women as men and typically develops between the ages of 30 and 50. Studies have shown that as many as 1 in 20 people could be affected by fibromyalgia.
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What are the signs and symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
As well as widespread pain, the NHS says the chronic condition can cause:
Increased sensitivity to pain.
Extreme tiredness (fatigue).
Problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to make an appointment with your GP but the NHS says it’s “unlikely” the symptoms will disappear completely.
What can cause Fibromyalgia?
The cause behind fibromyalgia isn’t clear but it’s thought to be brought on by stress, particularly a physically or emotionally stressful event such as an injury, giving birth, having an operation, a breakdown of a relationship or the death of a loved one.
The NHS says it could be related to “abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain” and changes in the way our central nervous system processes pain. It can also be genetic.
How can you treat Fibromyalgia?
While there is currently no cure for the condition, some treatments are available to help ease the various ailments. These include painkillers, cognitive behavioural therapy and lifestyle changers like exercise programmes and relaxation techniques.
The NHS notes that exercise has been found to particularly benefit people with fibromyalgia as it can help to reduce pain.
To find out more, visit nhs.uk/fibromyalgia