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Why is Fibromyalgia More Common In Women?

fibromyalgia more common in women

Is Fibromyalgia More Common in Women?

Evidence has shown that fibromyalgia is more common in women than men. 90 per cent of fibromyalgia cases are found in females according to the U.S. government. Not only is fibromyalgia more common in women, it also manifests differently. Men tend to experience milder symptoms and shorter periods of discomfort less frequently. So what is the role of gender in the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

Gender, Hormonal Changes, and Pain

Interestingly enough, fibromyalgia symptoms peak in women during their prime reproductive years. The hormonal changes in the body that influence estrogen levels indicate that fluctuations of hormones can affect symptoms.

Dr. Tucker said that estrogen is a hormone that can guard against pain. Women feel their painful fibromyalgia symptoms increase right before menstruation (when estrogen levels decrease) and after their cycle ends (when estrogen levels heighten).

Men have higher concentrations of testosterone that protect against their painful symptoms. According to research conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association, men with the highest levels of testosterone are the least prone to fibromyalgia.

Can We Believe the Numbers?

A lot of evidence and statistics we have about the prevalence of fibromyalgia relies on self-report data. The nature of fibromyalgia as a vague, widespread pain can be hard to identify. Men have been shown to be less likely to seek treatment or even a diagnosis. This means the presence of fibromyalgia in men could also be under-reported and underrepresented in the population.

Increasing Awareness of Fibromyalgia

Only a few years ago fibromyalgia as a condition was misrepresented or not understood by the population at large. Continuing research and examination of the symptoms have shed a much needed light on the number of people that deal with the condition every day.

Treatments include a range of anti-depressant medications but most often involve the integrative treatment of diet, exercises, sleep schedules, and other healthy lifestyle changes. Hopefully the increasing knowledge of the condition will lead to innovative treatments.

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