Fibromyalgia affects everything, from your hair to your toenails. And if you're thinking, "Hey, I wonder if my hair problems are related to fibromyalgia," there's a good chance they are.
The biggie is that we're prone to hair loss - which, fortunately, is temporary. For most of us, the hair falls out more when we're going through flares or periods of high stress. It does grow back, which is good, but often leaves us with wispy baby hairs that make it look messy when we pull it back. You might also lose enough that it's noticeably thinner.
But I started thinking about other types of hair problems when I came across this recent comment from a reader:
"I keep my long hair braided or in a soft bun, because my hair moving around causes pain. Can't pull it in a pony tail, for the same reason." -Robbie
I'm sure this issue isn't hers alone. I know fibromyalgia has been a big influence on my hairstyle at times.
The picture of me on this page (which is badly in need of updating) shows what I call my "too sick to do my hair" hairstyle. As my functionality improved, I changed it to something that takes a little work, but not much. And still, I have a wide selection of hats for days when I'm just not up to styling it. I have a huge problem in the summer, because my forehead sweats excessively when I'm warm (another fibromyalgia symptom) and undoes my do in a hurry.
I've read dozens of comments from people who say they can't hold their arms up long enough to style their hair, which is a common complaint in chronic fatigue syndrome, as well.
Barrettes, head bands, clips, etc. often just look too painful to even consider putting on my head. And then there's the styling products - a horror for anyone with fragrance or chemical sensitivities!
It may seem like a hairstyle is inconsequential when you've got a few dozen symptoms to contend with, and really, it's way down on the list of my concerns. However, not being able to style your hair like you want can have a big impact on your self-esteem. It can also be a reminder of all that you've lost to illness.
Photo © George Doyle/Getty Images