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Can mastalgia be another somatic symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome?

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Editor's Note:  Fibromyalgia (FM) is characterized by chronic widespread pain. 
For many women, that includes breast pain (mastalgia).  This study concludes that FM co-occurs with mastalgia more than previously estimated and that patients with FM should also be asked about the presence of mastalgia during routine examinations.

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE

The purposes of this study were to determine the coexistence of mastalgia and fibromyalgia, to investigate the effects of this combination on pain patterns, and to discuss the status of breast pain in the diagnostic algorithm of fibromyalgia syndrome.

METHODS

Sixty-one female patients reporting breast pain during the last three months and 53 female patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome were enrolled in this study. The Breast Pain Questionnaire was administered to all participants in the mastalgia group and to those in the fibromyalgia syndrome group who had experienced mastalgia during the past three months. The patients in the fibromyalgia syndrome group were evaluated using the 2010 preliminary American College of Rheumatology classification criteria. All of the patients in the mastalgia group were evaluated for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome by a single physiatrist. The coexistence and pain patterns of mastalgia and fibromyalgia were assessed statistically.

RESULTS

Approximately half of the patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (47.2%) reported having mastalgia at the time of admission and 37.7% of the patients with mastalgia met the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia syndrome. The patients with mastalgia in the fibromyalgia syndrome group had significantly higher total breast pain scores compared with the women in the mastalgia group. In addition, the patients with fibromyalgia syndrome in the mastalgia group had significantly higher Widespread Pain Index and Symptom Severity Scale scores than the patients with fibromyalgia syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS

We suggest that mastalgia can be an aspect of the central sensitivity syndrome and can be added to the somatic symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Full text available here.

Source:  Sen M, Kilic MO, Cemeroglu O, Icen D. Can mastalgia be another somatic symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome?  Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2015 Nov;70(11):733-7. doi: 10.6061/clinics/2015(11)03.

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2 thoughts on “Can mastalgia be another somatic symptom in fibromyalgia syndrome?”

  1. MaschelleMEcfs says:

    I have only heard of the word “somatoform”. it’s used by Doctors who believe an illness is “all in a patient’s head”. That they themselves are generating their symptoms without knowing they are.

    I am curious if the word “somatic” (as used in the context of this article) is meant to imply that this is a mentally created symptom instead of medical?

    It’s a touchy subject obviously for patient that are suffering so terribly to imply that their pain and illness is not Medical in nature.
    I have fibromyalgia and and ME-CFS. I am very ill and medical tests prove that my illnesses are very real. Anybody have any ideas that could help me out with this word usage?

  2. ProHealth-Editor says:

    Very good question. The words somatic and somatoform sound very similar but actually have opposite meanings.

    The definition of the word somatic is “of or relating to the body, especially as distinct from the mind.” So this study is talking about real physical symptoms of fibromyalgia.

    This is a very sensitive subject for those of us with FM and ME/CFS, so I’m glad that we’re able to clarify the difference between those two words.

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