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Skin Rashes and Fibromyalgia Syndrome

By: Suzanne Elvidge BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 8 Jun 2017 |
 
Skin Rashes Fibromyalgia Syndrome Dry

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome are the widespread muscle pain and allodynia (an extreme pain response to pressure). Some people find that they also develop skin rashes and other skin disorders and changes associated with fibromyalgia syndrome. These can be distressing, making people feel uncomfortable and conspicuous or unattractive, and can add to the feelings of depression and isolation.

Skin Rashes and Fibromyalgia Syndrome

People with fibromyalgia syndrome are more likely to have sensitive skin than the rest of the population, and between 50% and 80% of people with fibromyalgia syndrome will develop skin rashes or other skin complaints. These can affect already disturbed sleep, and add to the allodynia, making it even more difficult to find clothes that are comfortable.

The rash is usually red, and may be raised and bumpy. It can also be sore or itchy, or cause a crawling sensation in the skin. Some rashes could be a reaction to medications – if this is possible, always consult a doctor, nurse or pharmacist. A hypoallergenic moisturiser, a gentle cream designed for nappy rash such as Sudocrem, or an over-the-counter corticosteroid cream, may help.

Some people with fibromyalgia syndrome are sensitive to light (photosensitive), and this can cause skin reddening, soreness and rashes. High factor sun creams may help.

What Causes Skin Problems in Fibromyalgia Syndrome?The exact cause behind the skin problems in fibromyalgia syndrome is not completely clear. People with fibromyalgia syndrome seem to have increased immune system activity under the skin. This could lead to release of histamine, which can lead to itching, rashes and skin discomfort, and heparin, which reduces blood clotting and could lead to development of bruises. If this is the cause, antihistamine tablets and creams may help.

Skin rashes can also be a sign of lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus or SLE – also see ‘Fibromyalgia Syndrome and Lupus’), which has similar symptoms to fibromyalgia syndrome, but is an autoimmune disease. Any concerns about diagnosis should be discussed with a doctor or nurse.

Other Skin Complaints in Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Another skin symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome is itching. In fibromyalgia syndrome, while the brain often misinterprets pressure signals as pain, it may also become further confused and wrongly interpret touch or pressure, triggering an itching sensation. Putting cold packs or cold compresses on the areas that are itching may help. Other skin sensations include numbness, tingling, a crawling sensation, or a feeling of burning.

People with fibromyalgia syndrome tend to develop dry skin, which can worsen the itching. This can occur anywhere on the body, but may be most severe in the hands and fingers. To treat or prevent this, avoid harsh soaps and shower gels and keep skin well moisturised, especially after baths and showers – this will also reduce any itching. Avoid anything with too many artificial fragrances – cocoa butter or shea butter, or hypoallergenic baby products may help. Corticosteroid creams may also help, but consult a doctor or pharmacist first.

The skin in people with fibromyalgia syndrome is tender to the touch, particularly at the so-called tender points or trigger points (allodynia), and they may find that they bruise or scar more easily, and that bruises take longer to heal. Skin colour can change, becoming darker – this may be related to over-production of melatonin.

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Four years ago, Zyrtec stopped working for me. I had been on it for more than 20 years. Then the rashes and blisters developed. I also have fibromyalgia, asthma, and allergies. I have tried EVERYTHING. The only thing now that keeps it under control is lotion for psoriasis. After reading up on fibromyalgia, I found the reason why the lotion works (you can also use underarm deodorant) is the zinc oxide. If you don't use Zyrtec, try taking it daily (it may take up to 3 months for it to be in your system good) and lotions with zinc oxide.
tamiegail - 8-Jun-17 @ 8:08 PM
The only thing that keeps my rash away is a red light called Angel light at the tanning booth.I would use the special therefore light that hospitals use but there isn't one in the town I live in, so Dermotologist said as long as I don't turn pink, tanning beds are ok 3 or 4 times a week for 3-4 minutes and the red light for 12 minutes every day.It's the only thing that works.
Lakewinds - 10-Mar-17 @ 2:44 PM
Excellent article.I have rashes all the time. Some stay, some go away with cortisone cream. I had a pregnancy rash (all over my body) two weeks before I gave birth.The only cure was to give birth.I wonder if others with fibromyalgia had this as well.
Deb - 1-Dec-16 @ 11:47 PM
Great to read this article.I have had a rash across my neck, throat, and upper chest for a long time.It never goes away and at times it flares up and I actually have raised bumps that have white heads.Normally when this happens it is widespread.I also think there is a slight rash on my cheeks and across my nose.I have fair complexion and freckles so it is a little hard to tell, but it actually looks like the butterfly pattern seen with lupus.It is not nearly as fiery red as what you see in most pictures of the lupus rash.I have been diagnosed with fibro for several years now, and have been tested for a number of autoimmune disordersAll are negative but I do have elevated, inflammation levels.I have very dry eyes and am on Restasis, but have not been on it long enough for results.I have been unable to see well especially for reading, and they can't get an accurate reading for a new prescription.Hopefully, the Restasis will work.It is interesting about the itching also and I have had this at times.I've had it to the point that I have scratched myself so much that I am about to bleed and will have bruises.Seems like every time I turn around there is a new symptom.
Lil - 12-May-16 @ 11:10 PM
I have skin rashes. I get huge welts on body and it feels hot at times. My finger tingle and have pain. And sometimes i feel tingles thru out my body. I wish there was a doctor who knew more about this. Nobody knows what we are going thru. they need more research for this.
Patty - 12-May-16 @ 6:24 PM
Can you address the relationship of fibromyalgia and IBSplease
cam - 20-Aug-15 @ 9:03 PM
I have fybromyagia and I'm miserable..have all the see symptoms and more trying to Learnmore about it and trying to just deal with everyday life.
lynda - 13-Jul-15 @ 6:00 PM
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