Pop music singer Lady Gaga revealed on Twitter that she suffers from a debilitating disorder called fibromyalgia. The singer shared more about her struggle on her social media, and the concert company Live Nation announced that Gaga will be postponing the European leg of her “Joanne” tour.
Gaga shared her diagnosis in advance of the premiere of Gaga: Five Foot Two, a Netflix documentary debuting on Sept. 22 which touches upon her struggles with chronic pain.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by symptoms including chronic muscle pain and often-debilitating fatigue. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 5 million American adults have fibromyalgia — and between 80 and 90 percent of those affected are women.
Patients also experience a variety of other challenges, including sleep disruption, headaches, intolerance to medications and abdominal, bowel and bladder issues. Many patients also report suffering from “fibro fog,” which affects short-term memory.
Frustratingly, the cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown, though it is thought to be due to a variety of coexisting factors, including possible genetic mutations, infections or illnesses, and physical or emotional trauma that together either trigger or aggravate the condition.
Moreover, there is no cure. As the Mayo Clinic explains, “No one treatment works for all symptoms.” Patients are generally encouraged to pursue self-care strategies including physical therapy, yoga, meditation and eating well; there are also medications that many patients find effective in addressing certain symptoms related to fibromyalgia.
In a series of tweets posted last week, Gaga elaborated a bit upon her current treatment, and added: “I ask for your grace and understanding, and promise that I will come back and perform for you soon.”
In the past, Gaga has been open and vocal about various challenges that she faces. Last December, she posted an open letter in which she shared that she has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; in 2014, during an interview with Howard Stern, she addressed having been raped at age 19.
In all, 18 performances in Europe, starting Sept. 21 in Barcelona and ending on Oct. 28 in Cologne, Germany have been postponed. As of now, Gaga’s next set of shows in the U.S. , beginning Nov. 5 in Indianapolis and lasting through Dec. 18 in Inglewood, Calif., are scheduled to go on as planned.
This morning, Gaga posted a longer open letter to her social media about her health. She wrote that “trauma and chronic pain” are keeping her from living normally and working as an artist. But she added that she is working closely with her doctors so that she can get back to what she plans to doing for the next “60 years or more”: performing for her fans.
I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word "suffer" not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I'm being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn't be further from the truth. I'm a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much.