Background and objectives:
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a chronic condition that predominantly affects women. To date, there are few epidemiologic studies on CFS in men. The objective of the study was to assess whether there are gender-related differences in CFS, and to define a clinical phenotype in men.
Patients and methods
A prospective, cross-sectional cohort study was conducted including CFS patients at the time of diagnosis. Sociodemographic data, clinical variables, comorbid phenomena, fatigue, pain, anxiety/depression, and health quality of life, were assessed in the CFS population. A comparative study was also conducted between genders.
The study included 1309 CFS patients, of which 119 (9.1%) were men. The mean age and symptoms onset were lower in men than women. The subjects included 30% single men vs. 15% single women, and 32% of men had specialist work vs. 20% of women. The most common triggering factor was an infection. Widespread pain, muscle spasms, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, Raynaud’s phenomenon, morning stiffness, migratory arthralgias, drug and metals allergy, and facial oedema were less frequent in men. Fibromyalgia was present in 29% of men vs. 58% in women. The scores on physical function, physical role, and overall physical health of the SF-36 were higher in men. The sensory and affective dimensions of pain were lower in men.
The clinical phenotype of the men with CFS was young, single, skilled worker, and infection as the main triggering agent. Men had less pain and less muscle and immune symptoms, fewer comorbid phenomena, and a better quality of life.
Gender differences in chronic fatigue syndrome, by M Faro et al. in Reumatol Clin, 2015 Jul 16