Men With Fibromyalgia

                    Taken from Fibromyalgia Support N I


Men Do suffer from Fibromyalgia Syndrome. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Fibromyalgia patients are men. However, both the symptoms presented by men and their experience of the illness can be very different to that of a woman.

Difference in Symptoms

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia are widespread and vary from person to person. Some sufferers are more affected by widespread pain, while others find that fatigue is the worst symptom. Symptoms in men tend to be quite different to those suffered by women. Most research illustrates that men experience milder symptoms than women and also experience less:

. Tender points ( ie. not as many as the 11-18 usually found in women )

. Fatigue

. Morning stiffness

. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Male symptoms also tend to last for shorter periods of time and occur less often than those appearing in female patients. However, a recent study shows that male symptoms may actually be more sever than those experienced by women- so as you can see there are conflicting reports about the affects that fibromyalgia has on men. All doctors seem to agree that the under-reporting or misreporting the symptoms by many men may affect the general understanding of Fibromyalgia symptoms in men.

Diagnosis in Men

Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia also tends to be different in male sufferers. Male sufferers are often reluctant to admit to severe pain or discomfort, and as a result, may report milder symptoms that they actually have. This can make it difficult for doctors to accurately diagnose Fibromyalgia. Some doctors are also convinced that Fibromyalgia affects only women, refusing to diagnose men who display symptoms of the disorder.

Treatment of Men

Because of the societal expectations and gender roles, many men don't receive the treatment, patience and help they require. Men are forced can be forced by society to deal with their pain quietly, and as a result many men don't ask their doctor for Fibromyalgia medications.

For a long time now it has been considered that Fibromyalgia is primarily a "women's disease" - at last that view is being recognized to be inaccurate in that many more men than was first thought have been having symptoms and perhaps just not getting diagnosed as rapidly as the women. Although various studies have certainly shown women to be in the majority with the condition there are, as yet, no definitive reason as to why that may be.

What the studies show

Some studies have indicated that women may have a much lower than normal testosterone level. Because they have much less to start with, a deficiency doesn't take long to have more obvious effects. However, whether this may also be the reason for men getting the diagnosis is a subject of hot debate and other research studies. Men sometimes have fewer obvious symptoms to begin with, but in some cases, may go on to develop a worse case of the condition - this may, in part, have something to do with the heavier psychosocial impact that a hidden disability has on men - for them their job is not only their primary role in life but in many cases also their identity.

Denial perhaps

To not only be ill, but to be ill with a condition that is hidden, not well understood or recognized and something that others talk about mostly in relation to women, can for many men be too much to deal with in any capacity. Although men may start off with with fewer or less obvious symptoms, many studies have shown that they can ultimately progress on to having much more serious problems at a later point, possibly through denial and stubbornness - a trait found in all FM sufferers but perhaps more so in men.

Because men tend not to as open as women in sharing their difficulties in coping theey tend to bottle up a lot of the frustration and anger at being "hit" by such a frustrating condition and quite often even their partners won't be able to get them to open up.

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