Why Women Are More Prone to Fibromyalgia

Women get autoimmune disease at over twice the rate that men do. Autoimmune disorders and conditions include: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and yes, fibromyalgia, although fibro is still classed officially as a syndrome, meaning its exact cause is officially still unknown and there is no cure. 

Why are women so disproportionately affected?

At True Potential MD in University Place, Washington, Dr. Barbara Mack knows that women are more susceptible to fibromyalgia than men and will take your symptoms seriously. She and the rest of our experienced team offer innovative solutions and a variety of treatment options for fibromyalgia to help you live a fuller life.

The mysteries of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia often coexists with other autoimmune conditions and has similar symptoms, including unpredictable blood glucose levels, chronic fatigue, and gut issues. Many women with fibro also have extreme pain and cramping before and during their menstrual periods, unexplained back and pelvic pain, and migraines. 

Fibromyalgia is thought to have a genetic component, as it seems to run in families, but may also have an environmental angle. Women who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia are also more likely to have been diagnosed with past trauma, such as childhood or sexual abuse, leading to PTSD.

The potential hormone connection

No one is completely sure why women are more susceptible to autoimmune and chronic pain and fatigue conditions than men, but one reason might be related to hormones. Female mice are more prone to lupus than male mice, indicating possible a sex hormone connection. Hormones have also been linked to multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. All three conditions are far more common in women than in men.

The potential protein and hormone link

Proteins could also be connected. In one study of mice, muscle strength or fatigue appeared to be connected to high or low testosterone and ASIC3 protein levels. Female mice who were naturally lower in testosterone and who also lacked the protein were more prone to muscle fatigue. Male mice with naturally higher testosterone who also had high protein levels were less fatigued.  

Female mice with high protein levels who were given testosterone grew stronger and less fatigued. Male mice with low protein levels whose testosterone was lowered became more fatigued. The study provides hope that a remedy can be found for the chronic exhaustion and muscle weakness that plagues many fibromyalgia patients. 

If you suspect you have fibromyalgia based on your symptoms, call our office at 253-200-5555 for an appointment with Dr. Mack. You can also book your appointment using our online scheduling tool. 

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