Last Tuesday, pop megastar Lady Gaga revealed on Twitter that she suffers from a debilitating disorder called fibromyalgia. Today, 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.