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Women with Both Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Face Pain Have Fewer Children and More Problems Getting Pregnant

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By Raphael KG, Marbach JJ • • April 4, 2000

Women with myofascial face pain (MFP) are far more likely to encounter difficulty with getting pregnant, and have fewer children in general. This was true even after taking in account that some of the women had chosen to have fewer, or no, children because of their health problems. Interestingly, the women with MFP alone did not differ at all from the control group of healthy women in reporting about their infertility. The results of the study are relevant because they point so conclusively to the special difficulty women experiencing both of these afflictions – simultaneously -- face. Why is this so? The researchers link the problem to neurohormonal and other possible factors, urging that women be screened carefully for the co-morbidity of these two conditions.

OBJECTIVE: This study examined factors related to reduced fecundity among women with myofascial face pain (MFP) arising from hypotheses concerning the role of neurohormonal factors in MFP and associated conditions.

DESIGN: Fecundity rates among 162 MFP cases and 173 demographically equivalent acquaintance female controls were compared.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Fecundity indicators and factors underlying differential fecundity rates were investigated.

RESULTS: It was determined that female cases with MFP had significantly fewer children and were more likely to have never been pregnant. Although women with MFP were more likely than controls to indicate that volitional factors related to their health discouraged them from any or additional pregnancies, these factors did not account for lower rates of fecundity. MFP cases also did not differ from controls on self-reported indicators of infertility. Moreover, we show that reduced fecundity was restricted to the subgroup of MFP cases who reported a history of fibromyalgia.

CONCLUSIONS: Reduced fecundity in women with MFP is restricted to those who self-report a history of fibromyalgia. Possible mechanisms for reduced fecundity in fibromyalgia are discussed. These findings highlight the need to screen for widespread pain among women with regional myofascial pain syndromes.

Source: “Comorbid fibromyalgia accounts for reduced fecundity in women with myofascial face pain.” Raphael KG, Marbach JJ , Department of Psychiatry, New Jersey Medical School, and School of Oral Biology, Pathology, and Diagnostic Sciences, New Jersey Dental School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark 07107, USA., Clin J Pain 2000 Mar;16(1):29-36.

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