Early-Onset Menopause Associated with Increased Fibromyalgia Pain and Sensitivity


Age-of-onset of menopause is associated with enhanced painful and non-painful sensitivity in fibromyalgia.
– Source: Clinical Rheumatology, February 16, 2013

By M. Martinez-Jauand, et al.


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain condition characterized by high prevalence in women. In particular, estrogen deficit has been considered as a potentially promoting factor of FM symptoms. This study was aimed to examine the relationship between age-of-onset of menopause and pain sensitivity in FM.

For this purpose, pain sensitivity was assessed in 74 FM and 32 pain-free control women. All participants were postmenopausal and underwent a detailed semi-structured clinical interview, including data about menopause transition, previous history of hysterectomy or ovariectomy, and menses time.

Participants were divided into two groups depending on age-of-onset of menopause: early menopause [?49  years] vs. late menopause [>49  years]. Pain and non-pain thresholds were assessed by using cold, heat, mechanical, and electrical stimulation.

  • FM women showed higher overall pain sensitivity as compared with healthy subjects.

  • FM women with early age-of-onset of menopause displayed greater pain and non-pain sensitivity than FM women with late age-of-onset of menopause,

  • whereas no differences were observed in healthy women due to age-of-onset of menopause.

These results suggest that an early transition to menopause (shortening the time of exposure to estrogens) may influence pain hypersensitivity and could be related to aggravation of FM symptoms.

Source: Clinical Rheumatology, February 16, 2013. By M. Martinez-Jauand, C. Sitges, J. Femenia, I. Cifre, S. González, D. Chialvo, P. Montoya. Research Institute on Health Sciences (IUNICS), University of the Balearic Islands, Cra. de Valldemossa km 7.5, 07122, Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

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