Fibromyalgia and Female Sexuality
by Marline Emmal, Ph.D
About the Book
Fibromyalgia and Female Sexuality is the first book on fibromyalgia to explore how the various aspects of female sexuality can impact this baffling disorder. Understanding this impact can assist a woman in coping better with her fibromyalgia.
Entire chapters are devoted to intimacy, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. This book provides up-to-date information on the many ramifications of female sexuality on fibromyalgia and gives sensible advise on how to manage the disorder's ups and downs.
Fibromyalgia and Female Sexuality is written in an easy-to- understand, conversational style. It is a self-help book that will enable the reader to alleviate some of the symptoms of pain, fatigue, moodiness and nonrestorative sleep.
It is recommended that the sexual partner of the fibromyalgia sufferer also read the book in order to assist her in overcoming the feelings of helplessness so often experienced in the face of this condition.
What People are Saying ...
"This guide should help you navigate a sometimes bumpy course."
"An excellent book! It should sell like hotcakes!"
"Dr. Emmal believes that if women understood their sexuality in relationship to the disorder they could cope with their chronic pain more effectively. This is a small self-help book packed with the information needed, and written in layperson language, that all fibromyalgia sufferers have been waiting for."
Beatrice Repp from the Daily Bulletin, Kimberley
About the Author
Dr. Emmal is a long-term sufferer of fibromyalgia. She currently resides in Vancouver, B.C.
Sample Excerpt -
If you are of childbearing age and want a family, you probably have many questions concerning how fibromyalgia will affect your pregnancy, perception of pain and your sexuality. Unfortunately, there has been almost no research conducted on these aspects of fibromyalgia and female sexuality. The only journal article published on this topic concludes that pregnancy worsens FMS symptoms, especially during the last trimester. Pain medications you have routinely been taking for FMS may need to be adjusted or even discontinued before conception. Discuss medications with your physician before you try to become pregnant so that you will not be taking drugs that could be harmful to the fetus. Increasing exercise, however, is a natural and safe way to affect your perception of pain. After giving birth, estrogen levels drop, causing a deficiency of serotonin. Postpartum depression can be triggered by the decrease in these mood-altering chemicals and should be brought to the attention of your doctor. Most symptoms will improve within six months after birth, and babies born to mothers who have fibromyalgia appear to be healthy in every way.
Your fitness level will greatly affect the course of your pregnancy. In fact, you will need to be as fit as possible even before conceiving. There are various types of exercise that you can do during pregnancy and after birth. An excellent book is Easy Exercises for Pregnancy by Janet Belaskas. Most of the exercises involve gentle stretching. You may wish to do some of them on a bed rather than on the floor. This book includes a good discussion of pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels), which are essential both during and after pregnancy. They will support your expanding uterus and give you the strength to push effectively during labor. They will also prevent stress incontinence during your pregnancy when your enlarged uterus presses against the bladder. Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles during orgasm may actually assist you in becoming pregnant, as it is believed that the contractions of the uterus during orgasm may help propel sperm from the uterus into the fallopian tubes, where it will fertilize an egg.
Another good book is The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning by Sean P. Gallagher and Romana Kryzanowska. The focus of Pilates is core body conditioning, which will help alleviate low back pain. Pilates can also help you learn proper breathing techniques for labor. Due to the popularity of Pilates, classes in it are easily found in the community in case you have difficulty motivating yourself to do the exercises. An instructor will also make sure that you are doing the exercises properly.
Other exercises you can do include walking, Tai Chi and swimming. Walking has the advantage of being able to be done anywhere; all you need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes. Tai Chi is very relaxing and can assist with learning to keep your sense of balance. Finally, if you have access to a heated pool, swimming tones muscles due to the resistance provided by the water. To tone abdominal muscles specifically, walk through deep water using a flotation belt. Whenever you exercise, be sure to include adequate warm-up and cool-down periods, including some gentle stretches, perhaps with a resistance band or tubing. Any exercise you do will improve your circulation and increase your baby's supply of oxygen. When done in the early afternoon, it assists restful sleep. Always consult your doctor before starting these or any other exercise programs, and if a certain type of exercise is painful, discontinue it. There are several reasons not to exercise, these include: hypertension, or high blood pressure; an incompetent cervix; a history of premature birth; repeated bleeding; and, of course, once your membranes have ruptured.
Most recent revision Wednesday September 11, 2002