Does fibromyalgia weaken our immune system?! We are usually told it doesn’t, but sometimes I wonder how accurate this information is. Doctors never seem to share the studies done on fibromyalgia. Why is it when we do get sick, it feels 3x as bad!?! At least for myself it does. Fibromyalgia seems to amplify whatever illness you are battling off at the time. I also find that it takes me longer to recover. I just got the news yesterday that I tested positive for strep throat. I’ve had strep throat several times before my fibromyalgia diagnosis. Now it feels like the symptoms of strep are worse. I know the strains of the strep virus change and alter overtime and become stronger, but I also feel like my body does not handle getting sick very well anymore.
Does fibromyalgia cause our immune system to be weak!? Even though we are told by doctors that fibromyalgia doesn’t weaken our immune system, are our doctors familiar with research and studies being done on fibromyalgia?!! According to a study completed, various reports prove that fibromyalgia does in fact weaken our immune system. A study revealed that patients with fibromyalgia were exhibiting higher white blood cell count and cytokines ( immune cells) then people without fibromyalgia.
A similar study reported that fibromyalgia weakens our brains immune system. A reduced blood flow to the brains pain center results and affects neuron receptors. This will lead to increased pain , and higher stress levels. Your immune system will become weak and and will be incapable of fighting off bacteria.
People with fibromyalgia often have lower cortisol ( primary stress hormone) levels. Lower cortisol levels cause an increased level of estrogen to form in the body. Estrogen is seen to have a strong effect on the immune system. When there are high levels of estrogen in the body, the immune system is more likely to have an autoimmune response. This series of events causes progestin in the body to decrease. When progestin is low our immune system may tend to flare a lot . The fluctuation of these hormone levels are know to weaken our immune system. ( 2021 study showed an immune response was found).
Other factors that can also lower ones immune system are lack of sleep which people with fibromyalgia often battle and chronic fatigue levels. When people with fibromyalgia get sick with a cold, flu, sinus infection or in my case strep throat, it puts extra stress on our body. The stress our body feels from being sick can trigger a fibromyalgia flare. The flare up can intensify both fibromyalgia symptoms and illness symptoms all at once making it feel like you are even sicker! It is best to prevent getting sick. If you do get sick, self care is needed. Be sure to take care of yourself!