How Does Fibromyalgia Affect Women Differently?

PAINS AND ACHES

Intense fibromyalgia pain and tender points in women

Amplified fibromyalgia pain is often described as a deep or dull ache that starts in the muscles and radiates to other parts of the body. Some people also have a pins and needles sensation.

 

For a fibromyalgia diagnosis, the pain must affect all parts of your body, on both sides including the upper and lower parts. The pain may come and go. It can be worse on some days than on others. This may make it hard to plan for daily activities.

 

What’s interesting is that men and women experience fibromyalgia pain differently. Both report experiencing an intense level of pain at some point in time. But overall men tend to report a lower pain intensity than women. Women experience more “all-over hurting” and longer durations of pain. Fibromyalgia pain is often stronger in women because estrogen decreases pain tolerance.

 

Tender points

In addition to widespread pain, fibromyalgia causes tender points. These are specific areas around the body, usually near your joints that hurt when they are pressed on or touched. Researchers have identified 18 possible tender points. On average, women report at least two more tender points than men. These tender points are also more sensitive in women. You may experience pain in some or all of these places:

 

  • back of the head
  • area between the shoulders
  • front of the neck
  • top of the chest
  • outside of the elbows
  • top and sides of the hips
  • insides of the knees

Tender points can also appear around the pelvic area. Pain that’s ongoing and lasts for more than six months is called chronic pelvic pain and dysfunction (CPPD). These aches can start in the back and run down the thighs. Continue…

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