There are a number of skin-related fibromyalgia symptoms. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of people with fibromyalgia have some sort of skin-related symptoms. Some common complaints include dry skin, itching and burning skin, rashes, mottled skin and bruising. Some of these skin-related fibromyalgia symptoms can make sleeping more difficult, and increase pain and fatigue. Skin problems can also make it hard to choose clothes to wear.
Studies have shown there is a lot going on under the skin’s surface when you have fibromyalgia. Researchers have found there are excessive sensory nerve fibers in the palms of the hands of women with fibromyalgia. Research has also shown that an elevated level of immune-reactive proteins exists just beneath the skin’s surface.
One Swedish research group found there are four times the number of mast cells in the skin tissues of those with fibromyalgia. Mast cells are generated by the immune system and contain substances such as histamine and cytokines. Both of which, may be responsible for causing skin irritations and painful reactions.
With all that is going on just beneath the skin, it’s not difficult to understand how someone with fibromyalgia might suffer from rashes and itching or burning skin.
Types Of Skin-related Fibromyalgia Symptoms
There are a number of different types of skin-related symptoms that occur in fibromyalgia. Many of them are present alongside one another or become chronic problems. Skin-related fibromyalgia symptoms include the following:
- Dry Skin – Many people with fibromyalgia are plagued with dry, cracked skin. Dry flaky skin can appear anywhere on the body, but it particularly affects the hands and fingers. Sometimes this dry skin will begin to peel and cause pain and discomfort.
- Itchy Skin – Itchy skin is usually one of the most common skin complaints among those with fibromyalgia. Of course dry skin and rashes can make your skin itch but most often, with fibromyalgia, it occurs without any obvious cause. It is known as a sensory itch and has to do with how our body interprets pain signals.
- Rashes – People with fibromyalgia often complain of skin rashes. The typical rash associated with fibromyalgia is red and can be flat or raised and bumpy. In some cases, there is also itchiness. Scratching or sun exposure can make the rash burn.
- Mottled Skin – The skin of fibromyalgia sufferers often begins to change color, appearance, or tone. Mottled skin is due to blood vessel changes in the skin that cause a blotchy appearance. These blotches can appear anywhere on the body, particularly on the inside of the forearms and thighs.
- Bruising – Many of us with fibromyalgia experience unexplained bruising. I often end up with bruises on my arms, legs and other areas of the body and don’t remember bumping into anything.
- Painful Skin (Allodynia) – Allodynia is a fairly rare type of pain in which your skin hurts. Allodynia is believed to be a hypersensitive reaction to temperature and stimuli that wouldn’t normally cause pain. Even a light touch to the skin can be unbearable.
If you struggle with intense itching, red rashes or see a huge bruise that you have no memory of creating, you are not alone. These are not symptoms that you would naturally link to fibromyalgia, but they are connected.
I considered myself fortunate because I never experienced skin pain. My clothing or bedding irritated me, but I never experienced pain from someone touching me. That all changed this summer when my skin began stinging and burning. It’s from head to toe…my scalp, face, arms, legs, body, even my eyelids.
Do you have any tips for dealing with any skin-related symptoms, or just want to vent? Please leave a comment below.