Fibromyalgia and Alcohol: Can you Drink?

For many people, sitting down with a nice glass of wine or socializing with friends over a few cold ones is an enjoyable experience often embellished in their life.

Some enjoy this event only on occasion while others do so on a more frequent basis. But when a condition as serious as fibromyalgia strikes, it may put a damper on an activity that once was a regular part of your life.

Is it okay to drink if you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? This is a common question that many people have after such a diagnosis.

It is true that fibromyalgia affects your life greatly, but does that mean that alcohol is now a thing of the past?

What is Fibromyalgia?

More than 5.8 million people across the U.S. are affected by fibromyalgia, a painful, debilitating condition causing musculoskeletal pain throughout the body.

The pain can become quite severe for many sufferers and oftentimes is accommodated by fatigue, memory loss, mood problems and problems with sleep patterns.

The condition affects an individual’s quality of life and they may be unable to carry out normal activities of daily life. More women are affected by fibromyalgia than men, although men are not immune to the condition.

If you suspect that you have fibromyalgia, visiting your health care professional is your first line of defense. Although the condition is incurable, there are many different treatment options that can improve the quality of life.

There are also a number of lifestyle changes that one can initiate that enable them to live a more fulfilling life, even with fibromyalgia.

It is imperative that a doctor appointment is made so that you can learn your options for treatment of the condition.

Generally, the doctor will prescribe medications and therapy to treat fibromyalgia, but each case is different and your individual circumstances will be evaluated to determine your best route of treatment.

Alcohol worsens Fibromyalgia Flare-ups

Alcohol is a toxin to the body. When consumed in excess amounts, the body may begin to shut down as the body attempts to fight off the toxin.

Alcohol may have serious effects on the body, particularly when consumed in larger amounts. When you have a condition such as fibromyalgia, the effects of alcohol may worsen the effects that the condition brings to the body.

In addition, alcohol intolerance is a potential complication of those affected by fibromyalgia. Many people suffering from the condition say that even a drink or two causes them to experience severe pain and flare-ups.

Obviously, it is not a good idea to consume alcohol if it is going to make this already painful condition worse.

Have a Drink

News reports vary greatly from previous studies that suggested alcohol should not or could not be consumed by those with fibromyalgia.

Now many studies conclude that drinking alcohol may actually decrease the symptoms of fibromyalgia when consumed in moderate amounts.

Even if it does not aid in benefiting the condition, the study reports no harmful effects of consuming alcohol in moderate amounts.

One U.K. based study conducted in 2004, which hosted 950 participants, reported users experienced less pain, fewer problems with sleep and overall higher quality of life when they drank alcohol in moderate amounts.

Each Person is Different

Keep in mind that alcohol affects each person differently. It is possible that you may drink alcohol without any trouble while the next person may be unable to consume the beverage in any amount.

Also, keep in mind that the amount of alcohol consumed is a very important factor in how well your body can tolerate alcohol with fibromyalgia.

Drinkers consuming excess amounts of alcohol may find that there is an increased amount of pain while those who drink less find the exact opposite. The type of alcohol consumed also plays a role in the effects that the substance has on the body.

But the bottom line is clear: Studies suggest that alcohol may actually help some people ease their pains of fibromyalgia. Some studies suggest that alcohol intolerance occurs with the condition.

Both studies are correct since this substance affects each person in such different ways. Wine, an alcoholic beverage that has long been reported to have some positive effects on health, is one of the best to drink for these added benefits.

Red wine is of particular benefit to many people. You should not base your decision to drink –or not drink- on the report from one single study.

Sure, use the information to your advantage but remember that you are not the same as any other person out there. You are unique, just as the effects of alcohol on your body.

So what’s the Deal? Can I Drink or Not?

Whether or not you consume alcohol with a fibromyalgia diagnosis is a decision entirely up to you. Some say there are benefits; others say it is harmful and should be avoided at all costs.

Most agree, however, that in moderation, alcohol is certainly not harmful, as long as you are able to tolerate it without any added pain or flare-ups. This is not something that every patient with fibromyalgia can do.

What it really comes down to is a matter of personal decision and your ability to tolerate alcohol. Keep in mind that there is an increased risk of addiction if you are taking prescription medications for pain.

In this case, alcohol should probably not be consumed at all to avoid any potential interactions and this increased risk of addiction. Also, keep in mind your lifestyle and other factors when making your decision.

For many people, fibromyalgia does not affect their ability to consume alcohol, at least in moderation.

Also, keep in mind that each occurrence of alcohol consumption is different from the next, so just because you can consume it one time doesn’t mean that you will be able to the next.

It is imperative that you listen to your body and pay attention to the signs that develop.

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Reference:

http://chronicfatigue.about.com/b/2013/03/18/does-alcohol-improve-fibromyalgia.htm

http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/5949/148802/fibromyalgia

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315074615.htm

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