Fibromyalgia (FM): Worse in Men?

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Men suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome have more severe symptoms than women with the disease according to the results of a recent study.

Men with FMS reported having not only more severe symptoms than women, but they also experienced decreased physical function and lower quality of life. This was the finding despite the fact that the women in the study had lower tender-point thresholds than men though their tender point counts were similar.

Fibromyalgia, characterized by chronic pain in muscles and tissues in specific “tender points,” is more prevalent in women than men. The researchers at Ben Gurion University in Israel conclude that though FM is uncommon in the male population, its health outcome seems to be worse.

The researchers note that more studies with larger samples in diverse ethnicities and cultures need to be done before conclusive results can be made.

Fibromyalgia syndrome in men.

OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is uncommon in men and data on its characteristics and severity are limited. The current study was undertaken to determine whether the clinical characteristics and the spectrum of this disorder are similar in men and women.

METHODS: Forty men with FMS were matched with 40 women by age and educational level. All subjects were asked about the presence and severity (assessed by visual analog scale) of FMS symptoms; a count of 18 tender points was conducted by thumb palpation, and tenderness thresholds were measured by dolorimetry. Psychological status was assessed by the anxiety and depression subscales of the revised Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales. Quality of life was evaluated by two scales, QOL-16 and SF-36, and physical function was measured by the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Men with FMS reported more severe symptoms than women, decreased physical function, and lower quality of life. Women had lower tender thresholds than men; however their mean point counts were similar.

CONCLUSION: Although FMS is uncommon in men, its health outcome in our study population was worse than in women. Further studies in larger samples and in diverse ethnocultural populations are needed to confirm this observation.

Buskila D, Neumann L, Alhoashle A, Abu-Shakra M

Epidemiology Department, Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka Medical Center, Beer Sheva, Israel. lily@bgumail.bgu.ac.il

PMID: 10966212, UI: 20419396

Semin Arthritis Rheum 2000 Aug;30(1):47-51 Related Articles, Books (PubMed database)

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