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Gender differences in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

  [ 41 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • July 3, 1994

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there are differences between men
and women patients who have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
and, if so, to ascertain whether a gender-related pattern

DESIGN: A descriptive study of demographic, clinical,
and psychosocial measures, the results of which were
prospectively collected for patients who had CFS.

university-based referral clinic devoted to the evaluation and
management of chronic fatigue.

PATIENTS: 348 CFS patients who
had undergone complete medical evaluations.

MEASURES: Clinical
variables included symptoms, physical examination findings,
and laboratory results. Psychosocial assessment consisted of a
structured psychiatric interview, the Medical Outcomes Study
Short-form General Health Survey to assess functional status,
the General Health Questionnaire to ascertain psychological
distress, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control, and
measures of attribution, social support, and coping.

RESULTS: Overall, few gender-related differences were
identified. Women had a higher frequency of tender or enlarged
lymph nodes (60% versus 33%, p < or = 0.01) and fibromyalgia
(36% versus 12%, p < or = 0.001) and lower scores on the
physical functioning subscale of the Medical Outcomes Study
Short-form General Health Survey (37.6 versus 52.2, p < 0.01);
men more often had pharyngeal inflammation (42% versus 22%, p
< or = 0.001) and reported a higher lifetime prevalence of
alcoholism (20% versus 9%, p < or = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: In general, demographic, clinical, and
psychosocial factors do not distinguish men from women CFS

Buchwald D, Pearlman T, Kith P, Schmaling K

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