Rosacea: Related to ME/CFS & FM?


I was diagnosed with Rosacea about 12 years ago and ever since then I have wondered if it is common for people with ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia to develop this skin condition.  According to the National Rosacea Society, Rosacea affects approximately 14 million Americans and it is a poorly understood disorder of the facial skin.  The National Rosacea Society has an excellent description for Rosacea:

Rosacea (pronounced “roh-ZAY-sha”) is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This is the condition, called rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), that gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose. In many rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.

I was still in my twenties when I was diagnosed and it was during a very stressful time in my life. My husband (boyfriend at that time) had just had triple bypass surgery.  After that my face was never the same again.

The cause of Rosacea is yet to be discovered, but one theory is that it is caused by an inflammatory pathways that have been identified in recent ongoing research — including an immune response triggered by a type of antimicrobial protein known as cathelicidin.

There is also inflammatory issues in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients and it is believed that triggers for these illnesses can also be due to the immune system overreacting.  So is it possible that there is a link?  I would love to hear how many other ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia patients out there have Rosacea. 

For more information on Rosacea, signs, symptoms and treatments, please visit the National Rosacea Society.

If you liked this article, please share.
Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon0Email this to someone


  1. I have read your post with interest. I have just been diagnosed this week as having Rosacea. I have permanently red cheeks and broken veins in my cheeks and nose. I flush frequently and the redness can take forever to subside.
    I have had ME for 2 years now. I got it after being hospitalised for 3 weeks with Dengue Fever upon returning from Thailand. Before this I had no skin problems and firmly believe that the onset of my Rosacea is connected to ME. One of my many ME symptoms is temperature problems. I am either freezing cold or boiling hot. It is the boiling hot flushes that have left me with my problematic rosy cheeks and diagnosis of Rosacea!! Like having ME is not enough to deal with, I now need to try and find a solution to this!!

  2. I too have Rosacea. I was diagnosed right about the time that I became ill with Fibro and CFS/ME – about six years ago. I was diagnosed 1 1/2 yrs. later with Fibro & CFS/ME. I’ve often wondered, especially lately if it was related because I seem to have many inflammatory processes happening right now.

    I’ve been fortunate thus far to only have the redness and broken capillaries. I’ve only seen a papule once or twice. My mother, brother and daughter also have Rosacea, so I do think there is a genetic component to Rosacea, as with migraines as we all get those all as well.

    I was using Metrogel for awhile, but have switched to a natural skin care line that contains tea tree oil, which has anti-bacterial properties. I’m not advocating stopping your rx meds for this, but for me I just wanted to use something natural. I know there are many products out there with tea tree oil.

  3. Marvon Browning says:

    I am 47 and was just diagnosed with Rosacea but suspect I’ve had it for a while now. I also have both CFS and Fibromyalgia and have for 19 years.

  4. Lara More says:

    I have had ME/CFS for over ten years and also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia two years ago. I have been having flare ups of redness and swelling of nose and eyelids for about one year on and off and thought that it was allergic reaction and excema but now been diagnosed with Rosacea. I am 36 years old and female.

  5. Lara More says:

    p.s the redness is on my face cheeks too not just nose and eyelids.

  6. A few months ago I was reading a lot about rosacea because every doctor (3 different doctors) insisted that I had it. They put me on antibiotics which didn’t seem to help, and I spent a lot of time on the internet trying hard to find a cure myself.

    I noticed that certain foods made my face worse, and many of the rosacea posts I read seemed to have what I had. I truly believed that what I had was rosacea. But I also had severe fatigue and I got sick a lot. I have to admit that my rosacea symptoms were *very* severe. (Steroids are the only thing that keeps my face from swelling with hundreds of pustules).

    The doctors found that I had elevated liver enzymes, but they weren’t concerned about that. After a biopsy of a couple of the lesions, they found that the lesions are cancerous, so it wasn’t rosacea after all. It’s a rare lymphoma. The root cause being that my immune system is just not functioning properly.

    The doctors say that what I have is extremely extremely rare, but I would hate it if someone out there had what I have and just didn’t know.

    If you are having *severe* fatigue and you get sick easily along with *extremely* bad rosacea (Much worse than this picture of Sandy Robinson), maybe you should have the lesions biopsied. The kind of cancer that I have is aggressive. I’m not looking forward to the treatments, but at least I have a chance of survival.

  7. Have had fibromyalgia for14 yrs and have recently been diagnosed with rosacea. As I do have flushing of my face and upper arms if I don t pace myself and get very tired I didn t go to Doctor for 2 yrs. The facial flushing–forehead nose cheeks and chin was so odd I thought I would just be told it was yet another fms symptom to be endured!! Today I googled to see if there is a link between fms and rosacea and feel comforted to find you all thinking the samr.I have the burning redness, some pimples and have made an appointment with my optician about my sore aching eyes–feel like I have grit in them.My doctor just sent me away with a leaflet and said come back when the redness is constant and pustules too.All treatments seem expensive-can anybody suggest something I could try?

  8. I’ve had ME for 14 years now and was diagnosed with rosacea a few months ago after suffering with it for around a year. Very interested to see if it is linked to the ME.

  9. I suspect oxalates. I have had body pains for years. Than hair loss, inflamed bladder IC with itchy skin no rash now maybe mild Rosaeca def an inflammation of the skin. I am on low oxalates diet. Join trying low oxalates on yahoo groups or on facebook

Join the Discussion.

We'd love to hear from you - leave a comment below