How does chronic fatigue syndrome affect women differently than men?

Jacob Teitelbaum
Integrative Medicine

Three quarters of people who develop chronic fatigue syndrome are female. This is commonly seen in many immune illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. I suspect this occurs because a woman's immune system is different from a man's, needing to be able to carry a baby during pregnancy without rejecting it. In addition, a woman's hormone system is different than a man’s, predisposing women to different illnesses.

Although chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed in more women than men, studies on the relationship between gender and chronic fatigue syndrome are inconclusive. In general, women make up four out of five cases of chronic fatigue syndrome that are diagnosed. Researchers have speculated that a reason for this may be the cultural inclination of women to report pain more frequently than men. Even so, the severity of chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms reported by women is not harsher than those reported by men.

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