Women are affected at a ratio of 7:1 by fibromyalgia. This could be due to a hormonal influence, but we also know that women have different symptoms than men do. For instance, over the last two decades, we learned that women have different symptoms of heart disease than men do, and the focus on women’s health because of this has changed.
Another factor may be that men are more likely to keep their symptoms to themselves. Many do not understand the comorbidity of myofascial pain syndrome and that it can cause male related issues, such as impotence, testicular pain, and male pelvic dysfunction. Women are more likely to discuss sexual dysfunction and other symptoms of fibromyalgia with their doctor than men do.
Men have historically lagged behind women in seeking healthcare, which has been attributed to the “Macho” effect. Women, however, not ALL, but most, take on the role of caregiver to parents, children and even spouses. It has been proposed this may be why women tend to visit the doctor and report their symptoms. They are concerned about taking care of the caretaker, so to speak.
It is my opinion that many more men are affected by fibromyalgia than what the statistics show because of the factors I just mentioned, and I believe that men are not represented in proportionate numbers in clinical trials and research. Multiple sclerosis was once thought to be “hysterical paralysis,” women gained a great deal more attention than men. Even though it does affect women at a ratio of just under 2:1, men have MS too. Women do tend to have a greater affinity toward autoimmune diseases, but believe me, if you are a man and suffer with fibromyalgia, MS or any other neuroendocrineimmune disorder, it is just as real.
All blogs, posts and answers are based on the work in Integrative Therapies for Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Myofascial Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by Celeste Cooper, RN, and Jeff Miller, PhD. 2010, Vermont: Healing Arts press and are not meant to replace medical advice. http://www.thesethree.com
Author of Chapter Five, Living with and Coping Effectively Through Fibromyalgia: Detecting Barriers, Understanding the Clues, in Fibromyalgia Insider Secrets: 10 Top Experts, 2nd Ed. Ebook complied by Deirdre Rawlings, ND, PhD http://www.fibromyalgiainsidersecrets.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=121_0_1_59