The role of gender in fibromyalgia syndrome
By Yunus MB
Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2001 Apr;3(2):128-34.
College of Medicine at Peoria, University of Illinois, One Illini Drive, PO Box 1649, Peoria, IL 61656, USA. Yunus@uic.edu
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), characterized by widespread pain and tenderness on palpation (tender points), is much more common in women than in men in a proportion of 9:1. Two recent studies have shown important gender differences in various clinical characteristics of FMS. In a community and a clinic sample, women experienced significantly more common fatigue, morning fatigue, hurt all over, total number of symptoms, and irritable bowel syndrome. Women had significantly more tender points. Pain severity, global severity and physical functioning were not significantly different between the sexes, nor were psychologic factors, eg, anxiety, stress, and depression. Gender differences have also been observed in other related syndromes, eg, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and headaches. The mechanisms of gender differences in these illnesses are not fully understood, but are likely to involve an interaction between biology, psychology, and sociocultural factors.