Does Gender Play a Role in Fibromyalgia Pain?

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A new study suggests that that there is a lack of gender differences in self-reported pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
A new study suggests that that there is a lack of gender differences in self-reported pain in patients with fibromyalgia.

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — A new study suggests that that there is a lack of gender differences in self-reported pain in patients with fibromyalgia.

Examining equal samples of males (n=152) and females (n=152), study researchers conducted a secondary analysis of data collected from a large fibromyalgia registry. The researchers recruited patients via mailed invitation and through a fibromyalgia clinic at a tertiary medical center. Study participants completed questionnaires assessing common fibromyalgia symptoms: pain, fatigue, sleep, dyscognition, and mood. The investigators then compared demographics and symptom scores between male and female participants. Approximately 89% of participants were white and approximately 52 years of age. 

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In regard to age, race, body mass index, or self-reported symptom severity, there were no significant differences between males and females. Using the widespread pain index score, the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire – Revised, and the Short Form-36 bodily pain subscale, the researchers assessed P values for differences in pain: P=.54, P=.14, and P=.48, respectively. 

The researchers found that there were no gender differences with respect to self-reported pain, fatigue, sleep, dyscognition, and mood. According to the study's authors, the findings suggest that males and females with fibromyalgia likely have similar symptom experiences.

Reference

Whipple M, Mohabbat A, Nanda S, Vincent A. Abstract # 169. Lack of Gender Differences in Self-Reported Pain and Other Symptoms in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Presented at: AAPM 2016. February 18-21, 2016; Palm Springs, California.

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