Blog | Friday, April 24, 2009

Fibromyalgia: Not just for women

Daniel Clauw, ACP Member, has a bone to pick with the American College of Rhematology's criteria for fibromyalgia.

He particularly dislikes the one which says there must be tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender point sites to diagnose the disease. "When insurance companies come asking me about this, I say I don't know, and I don't care," said Dr. Clauw during a session on fibromyalgia this morning. "It's not even objective."

Indeed, one reason fibromyalgia is commonly--and erroneously--known as a women's disease is because women are more likely to report tender points than men, he said. It's true that the disease is 1.5 to 2 times more common in women, but there are plenty of men who have it, too--and they often go undiagnosed because of the "women only" myth.

"When males have fibromyalgia, the doctor keeps looking (for an alternate reason) until he finds a peripheral cause, like a bulging disc in the back. Then the patient gets surgery, and when that doesn't work, it's said that the patient 'failed back surgery,'....not that the surgeon failed by doing the surgery."