Gender Differences in Fibromyalgia – How it affects both differently (2016 ACR Criteria)

Gender differences between fibromyalgia are still debatable in medical science, it is still confusing as to whom it has affected more. Despite the many studies and their development in diagnostic criteria over the past three decades, the difference is underestimated. According to a study in Rheumatology by Moshrif, A., Saad, A., Shoaeir, M., and Gouda, W., (2022) the sex ratio differs significantly in both males and females. However, fibromyalgia has always been a major women’s disease, but according to the parameters applied in this study, they have significant differences when it comes to symptoms and endurance.


In this study there was a total of 352 fibromyalgia patients; the number of females interviewed was 281 while males were only 71 confirmed this disease and its symptoms. The female/male ratio was 3.96:1. In regards to different demographics such as age, marital status, occupations, and BMI, there was a statistically significant difference between both genders.

When 2010 ACR criteria are applied, there were more males identified with fibromyalgia. Moreover, the 1990 ACR criteria showed the ratio of women to men was 13.7:1, whereas the ratio from 2010 ACR was 4.8:1. According to this research, the ratio between men and women is drastically changing, with a decrease in women diagnosed with this disease and an increase in men diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Because of that, the 2011 ACR criteria modifications shows even lesser women diagnosed with the disease by 2.3:1.

A general ratio found in this study after applying all three criteria was a 3.96:1 female to the male ratio which indicates that women are still more in numbers who are facing this chronic illness than men. However, the numbers have decreased. The perception of fibromyalgia has always been a primarily women’s illness with a traditionally female ratio of 90%. Following this study, the perception is proved unsupported because of the data from the research. Because the female percentage of cases was 60% based on established criteria and fair patient selection. Additionally, Wolfe and others are recommending the application of the 2016 Clinical and epidemiological study criteria for fibromyalgia due to its revised score and widespread pain.


In this study, the results show that there was a significantly higher incidence of fatigue, sleep disturbance, headaches, cognitive dysfunction, and abdominal pain in females. Whereas in men there was more endurance level seen. This rise in fibromyalgia in females is associated with the variance in the intensity of symptoms.

This study shows that women have a mean tender point much greater than men regarding the tender points. However, the tenderness points are not that easy to evaluate, and women are more affected by the divergent pain conditions other than men. Moreover, new research reflecting the 2010 elimination tender points as a criterion for diagnosis of fibromyalgia has shown equality rates in both genders.

In a study by Sanchez et al 2012, it was established that the duration of the symptoms in both men and women last differently. More endurance was found in men as compared to women, and more symptoms were recorded in women compared to men. Females have a significantly high rate of prevalence of fatigue and sleep disturbance, while males were recorded to have a lower rate of fatigue incidence.


Female patients with fibromyalgia have had severity scores in said disease, its symptoms, and tender points. The scientists applied different criteria and in every outcome, the prevalence and intensity of fibromyalgia and its symptoms were higher in females. However, there was still a huge difference ratio between both genders and the results were a little biased. In future studies, scientists need to perform their research on a similar number of patients of both genders. Because this research had a lower ratio of men because of psychological differences.


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