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Is Fibromyalgia an "Old Woman's Illness"?


Updated January 28, 2013

Question: Is Fibromyalgia an "Old Woman's Illness"?

"I'm a teenager and my doctor said I have fibromyalgia. That was after about six doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me at all. When I told one of my teachers, he said it's not possible for me to have it because fibromyalgia is an 'old woman's disease.' It took forever to get a diagnosis and now I'm not sure it's even real. Do only old women get fibromyalgia or can kids get it, too?"


Your teacher is misinformed. While fibromyalgia did used to be considered an old women's illness, we now know that anyone, at any age, can develop this illness.

About 90 percent of fibromyalgia diagnoses are in women or girls, but men and boys can and do get it as well. However, many doctors are not aware of this and may miss it in people who don't fit the stereotypical image of someone with fibromyalgia.

If you have any doubts about your diagnosis, you should talk to your doctor about it. He or she should be able to answer your questions. Meanwhile, learning more about your illness may help you feel more confident when you tell someone about it, and it could also help you make decisions that help you feel better. The articles here can get you started:

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue
  4. FMS Basics
  5. FAQs
  6. Is Fibromyalgia an Old Woman's Illness ?

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