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A few words about men with fibromyalgia...

Much attention has been given to fibromyalgia in recent years. Much has been learned, but there is still much to learn!  For one thing, ninety percent  of fibromyalgia patients are women.  We know more about this group of patients simply because there are a lot more of them to study.  But men can be diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well--and even though there are many similar disease characteristics, there are also some striking differences.

First of all, men are affected by fibromyalgia differently because of the hormonal differences between men and women.  In women, disease flare can be associated with the menstrual cycle. For males, this is not a  problem.  On the other hand, the primary male hormone testosterone benefits males because it is thought to play a beneficial role in general when it comes to pain. The hormone cortisol also appears to be involved; here again, it appears that women are more greatly affected than their male counterparts. The neurotransmitter serotonin also seems to be involved, and here again women seem to be more greatly affected than men due to gender differences in brain chemistry.

In terms of symptoms, men seem to report lower pain intensity than females.  They also seem to have fewer tender points than women with fibromyalgia. Men tend to have fewer problems with fibromyalgia associated depression. Fibromyalgia is less disabling overall to men than to women.. and they tend to wait longer before seeking medical attention.

Good quality sleep is important for all of us, and for those with fibromyalgia this is no exception. Here again, gender differences prevail: it appears that sleep quality is a good predictor of pain in men, but that is not the case for the female gender.

Sources:; Wikimedia


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