Menstrual cycle modulation of tender points

Changes in pain sensitivity throughout the menstrual cycle
were assessed in 36 normally menstruating women and 30 users
of oral contraceptives. Pain sensitivity was measured with
palpation of rheumatological tender points and with pressure
dolorimetry. The number of tender points identified by
palpation was greater in the follicular (postmenstrual) phase
of the cycle as compared to the luteal (intermenstrual) phase
in normally cycling women but not in users of oral
contraceptives. These findings are related to previously
described physiological and psychological features of the
menstrual cycle, with particular emphasis on the role of
hormonal events in modulating pain perception, particularly in
musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia.

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