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Fibromyalgia in men: comparison of clinical features with women

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www.ProHealth.com • February 10, 2000


OBJECTIVE: To describe possible differences between male and female patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) in their clinical manifestations.

METHODS: Five hundred thirty-six consecutive patients with FM (469 women, 67 men) seen in a university rheumatology clinic and 36 healthy men without significant pain seen in the same clinic were included in the study. Data on demographic and clinical features were gathered by a standard protocol. Tender point examination was performed by the same physician. Level of significance was set at p < or = 0.01.

RESULTS: Several features were significantly (p < or = 0.01) milder or less common among men than women, including number of tender points (TP), TP score, "hurt all over," fatigue, morning fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The total number of symptoms was also fewer among men and approached significance (p = 0.02) by parametric test, but reached significance (p = 0.001) by nonparametric analysis. All clinical and psychological symptoms as well as TP were significantly (p < 0.01) more common or greater in male patients with FM than healthy male controls, with the exception of IBS (p = 0.03). Patient assessed global severity of illness, Health Assessment Questionnaire disability score, and pain severity were similar in both sexes.

CONCLUSION: Male patients with FM had fever symptoms and fewer TP, and less common "hurt all over," fatigue, morning fatigue, and IBS, compared with female patients. Stepwise logistic regression showed significant differences between men and women in number of TP (p < 0.001).

Yunus MB, Inanici F, Aldag JC, Mangold RF




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