Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome, which affects mostly middle-aged women. The syndrome is poorly understood and treatment is mainly palliative. The diagnosis is established from diagnostic criteria. Living with FM means living a life greatly influenced by the illness in various ways for people affected. Aim of the study. The aim of this study was to describe the experiences of living with a woman with FM from the husbands' perspective.
Methods: Five men married to women with FM were interviewed using a narrative approach. The interviews were analysed using qualitative thematic content analysis.
Findings: The analysis resulted in the following seven themes: increasing responsibility and work in the home; being an advocate for and supporting the wife; learning to see the woman's changing needs; changing relationship between spouses; changing relationship with friends and relatives; deepening relationship with the children and lacking information and knowledge about FM. The findings show that the women's illness had a great impact on husbands' lives, and that husbands lacked information about the woman's illness.
Conclusion: This study shows that it is not only the women with FM who experience a changed life; the whole family life is influenced and limited by FM. The husband's role in the family changes, first and foremost concerning responsibility and workload within the family. This must be taken into consideration in care planning. This study also highlighted the need of information and knowledge about FM expressed by the participants, information that health care personnel have a great responsibility to give.