<--GAT-->
Women's Health

Fibromyalgia Presents Differently in Male, Female Veterans

by U.S. Medicine

May 21, 2018

WEST HAVEN, CT — Research on fibromyalgia, a poorly understood, chronically disabling pain syndrome, generally has focused on its clinical presentation and treatment.

A new study published in the Journal of Women’s Health points out that less is known about fibromyalgia’s clinical epidemiology in real-world healthcare systems. One issue, the article noted, is that gender differences have been difficult to study, because relatively few males are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.1

To remedy that, a study team led by researchers from the Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System compared VHA patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia nationwide in FY 2012 veterans with other pain diagnoses on sociodemographic characteristics, medical and psychiatric diagnoses, health service use and opioid and psychotropic prescription fills.

Additional analyses compared characteristics of men and women diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Results indicate that 77,087 of 2,216,621 veterans with pain diagnoses (3.48%) were diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Those patients were:

•  more likely to be female,
•  younger than patients with other pain conditions,
•  more likely to have multiple psychiatric comorbidities and other types of pain, and
•  have used more medical outpatient services.

Study authors explained that women diagnosed with fibromyalgia were younger and more likely to have headaches, connective tissue diseases (CTD) and psychiatric comorbidities, while men had more comorbid medical conditions.

“In this large, predominantly older male sample of veterans with pain diagnoses, those with fibromyalgia were far more likely to be women,” the researchers concluded. “Gender comparisons showed women with fibromyalgia were more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and CTD, while males were more likely to be diagnosed with medical conditions. Fibromyalgia shows a striking, gender-dependent picture of multimorbidity, which should be considered in treatment.”


1Arout CA, Sofuoglu M, Bastian LA, Rosenheck RA. Gender Differences in the Prevalence of Fibromyalgia and in Concomitant Medical and Psychiatric Disorders: A National Veterans Health Administration Study. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2018 Apr 2. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2017.6622. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29608126.

Comments are closed here.


Related Articles

Unions Go to Court to Stop VA Changes in ‘Official Time’ Policy

VA's announcement that it would eliminate paid union-related official time for medical professionals, as of Nov. 15, has drawn a lawsuit from unions representing the agency's employees.

Better Survival for NSCLC Patients Treated by Military Medicine

Does universal healthcare access provided by the MHS translate into improved patient outcomes for non-small cell lung cancer?


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From womens health

Women's Health

DoD Study Finds That Type 2 Diabetes Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

Having Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM-2) increases mortality risk in breast cancer patients, regardless of whether diabetes was diagnosed before or after breast cancer, according to a recent study.

Women's Health

Women’s Health Initiative at VA Increases Use of Point of Care Testing

NEW YORK — From 2000 to 2014, the number of women veterans receiving care through the VA doubled. Today, approximately 750,000 women are enrolled in the VHA healthcare system and about half a million use it each year.

Women's Health

Chiropractic Helpful for Female Veterans with Back Pain

DALLAS—Emerging data has suggested effectiveness for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. That is why clinicians now sometimes opt to use SSRIs instead of off-label antipsychotics, a traditional... View Article

Women's Health

Mental Health Diagnoses Increase Coronary Artery Disease Risks in Women Veterans

BOSTON — Depression and anxiety can be debilitating on their own. For women veterans, the conditions raise an additional concern: They significantly increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD)—the leading cause of death in the United States.

Women's Health

Advocacy Group Partners with VA to Improve Research on Female Concussions

DALLAS—Emerging data has suggested effectiveness for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for treatment of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. That is why clinicians now sometimes opt to use SSRIs instead of off-label antipsychotics, a traditional... View Article

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up