I don’t know about the rest of you who are afflicted with this terrible condition, at least I think that’s what they call it, but I have gained so much weight since I was originally diagnosed. Now, I have never been stick thin, but I was not heavy either. I gained weight naturally after the birth of my three children and never got some of it back off. My real weight problem happened when I was going to a Rheumatologist. He had me taking the same amount of Lyrica as my Neurologist had started me on months before. It was probably my second or third visit that he upped my dosage from 150 mg to 225 mg.
Over a years time I had gained eighty pounds! WHAT!! When I went back to the Rheumatologist and asked him if I could get on another medicine as Lyrica had caused me to gain eighty pounds, you know what this so-called wonderful doctor said to me? “Medicine does not make you gain weight, what you put in your mouth does!” This a doctor of Rheumotology and also has a weight loss clinic in his office, along with all kinds of cosmetic treatments. Needless to say I was not going to be a patient of his weight loss clinic, nor was I going to be a patient of his at all any longer. Talk about a mad and upset woman, that was me that day!
I went back to my Neurologist and asked her to manage my Fibromyalgia once again and told her the story. She stated that medicine can indeed cause weight gain and what was he thinking telling such nonsense. It says right on the insert given out with Lyrica that a possible side effect is indeed weight gain. I no longer take Lyrica but am now on Savella and it helps more than the Lyrica ever did.
I decided to do a little research on weight gain and Fibro and my findings are below. I hope you find these helpful, especially if you are a newly diagnosed patient.
There are factors that are directly and indirectly related to the condition itself. Factors of the condition can include but are not limited to hormone imbalances, levels of cortisone, thyroid production, serotonin, insulin levels, and productions in growth hormones. Metabolism slows and weight gains often follows. Fatigue can also play a major role in weight gain.
Arousal disturbances in brain wave patterns during sleep, people not getting quality sleep, can suffer from sleep apnea and Restless Leg Syndrome (both of which I have) which increases tiredness. Studies show lack of sleep leads to higher hypocretin production which is vital to sleep and appetite levels. High levels of hypocretin neurons lead to a state of arousal (not of the sexual nature but being awake more than one should be for restful sleep..LOL) which in turn leads to fatigue and also overeating. Chronic pain, which all of us Fibro folks know all too well, from fatigue can inhibit a person’s ability to exercise therefore not assisting with the loss of weight. Drugs taken to relieve depression can also cause weight gain. Some medications like Prozac and Zoloft increase appetite, fluid retention, hormone levels, and ultimately metabolism.
Some tips given for reduction of weight are eating less animal fats (red meats) and eating leaner fats such as chicken, turkey, and fish. Increase foods rich in fiber and low in sugar, which would be vegetables. Fresh fruits, especially raspberries and strawberries are helpful. No dried fruit as they contain preservatives. Omega-3 fatty acids such as cold water fish, almonds, avocados, olive and corn oils are beneficial as well.
There is of course the nasty, dreaded word we all hate……EXERCISE!! One should start off slowly, maybe walking around the block once a day to start and building up to a sixty minute walk a day over time. I know for me, when I am having a flare, there is no way you’re even going to get me out of bed much less out of the house! Stretching and massages are good ways to ease some of those tender spots. I have tried something called a TheraCane, which is similar to a night stick law enforcement personnel carry. It is a little longer maybe and has several knobs positioned on it so you can reach different tender points and help break up those knots. I do need to invest in one of these and have seen them for sale of eBay and I’m certain if you searched Amazon.com, they would have them as well. Or do a Google search if it’s something you are interested in. If you’re like me, I do not exercise at all, unless you consider working out in my yard from Spring until Fall exercise? I live outside during those months and love the warmth of the sun, which you know is the purest form of Vitamin D and we all can benefit from that tremendously!
There it is in a nutshell! I am an expert having had Fibro for nine years now, heck no! I just know what has and hasn’t worked for me. Everyone is very different and our pain is not ever going to be the same. What works for me, may not be a good thing for you! Find what helps you and stick with it. It’s taken me many years to get to where I am at least a little more functional in society again!
I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine:
We don’t have to do this alone.
We aren’t ment to do this alone.
~Susan Somerset Webb~
Wishing you gentle days, sunshine, and whatever makes you smile!