Fatigue and excess fluid in the body can both contribute to fibromyalgia and lipedema. They are found most frequently in middle-aged women who are overweight and depressed. A study published in the Journal of Pain Research, “Common and Contrasting Characteristics of the Chronic Soft-Tissue Pain Conditions Fibromyalgia and Lipedema,” compares and contrasts pain associated with the two conditions.
Both fibromyalgia and lipedema are characterized by pain localized in soft tissue; they are found mainly in women in middle-age, who are often co-affected by overweight and symptoms of depression. Both diseases are chronic, persist over decades and are not curatively treatable, which contributes to a high individual and public health burden. No examiner-based or “objective” signs, such as abnormal laboratory or imaging findings, can be identified to specify one condition from the other. The two syndromes may often be confused or misdiagnosed. To date and to the best of our knowledge, there is no literature dealing with the differential diagnosis between the two conditions.
Fibromyalgia and lipedema are two widespread, chronic soft-tissue pain conditions that are very similar in their localization, pain characteristics, gender distribution, clinical phenomenology, comorbid conditions, and absence of curative therapy options. The two conditions are distinct entities. The main distinguishing feature is that persons with lipedema report localized pain (in the legs most often) and show a disproportional subcutaneous fat pattern, whereas those with fibromyalgia report generalized pain (in at least 4/5 body regions, with almost all having back pain, see ACR criteria). The concomitant symptoms are often the same and reflect the chronic pain syndrome. Distinguishing fibromyalgia from stage I lipedema or other differential diagnostic conditions can be challenging but is essential for correct therapy allocation. The patient’s perception of disease severity is stronger in fibromyalgia than in lipedema, especially in the social and role dysfunction dimensions, whereas the walking distance was similar for both conditions. These observed inconsistent findings and parallel results in the literature suggest that the self-assessment of disease severity is more pessimistic and possibly unrealistically negative in fibromyalgia when compared to disorders, possibly due to limitations in the individual’s pain coping skills. Future research should include pain coping dimensions and additional functional performance tests.
Excess fluid in the body can be addressed by consuming alterative herbs in tea formulations. For a free everyday blend of an alterative tea formulation specifically designed to help the body drain excess lymphatic fluid, subscribe to my newsletter.