“The only question left to be settled now is, are women persons?”, Susan B. Anthony
Until relatively recently little has been known about women’s health in general. Therefore it is little wonder that fibromyalgia (FMS) and its sibling chronic fatigue (CFS), long thought by many to be the result of women’s psychological inadequacies, have often been relegated to the myth of the hysterical female psyche. There are more questions than answers regarding why FMS occurs more frequently in women. One thing is for certain however, a woman’s spirit is awe-inspiring. The woman pictured here is embracing all that is open and honored about nature and life.
But, we do live in a world where many challenges face us, particularly where conditions tend to be more relevant to women than men. What is it about fibromyalgia and women? Do we attract that dis-ease? The speculative causes of FMS are numerous. There are those who argue that there is a viral link, suggesting that it could be infectious. The ‘proof’ of this theory is extremely inconclusive and there are no known tests to substantiate this speculation. In fact, how would this perspective explain why FMS is primarily a women’s condition?
Many physical therapists (physiotherapists) believe that fibromyalgia pain is caused by hypermobility of joints. While their view is somewhat interesting, it has not been my experience with the women I have interviewed who suffer from FMS. Other than among certain PTs I have not heard others suggest that this could be a cause of this painful syndrome.
Some endocrinologists believe there is a decreased nocturnal level of prolactin (a single-chain protein hormone closely related to growth hormone) in women with FMS. Still others believe there is a genetic link and is hereditary in terms of predisposition. Some are convinced that FMS is due to inadequate thyroid regulation. Less fruitful for research purposes is the theory that there is a chemical imbalance in the muscles of women with FMS, the pain of which can be explained by a malic acid and magnesiun deficiency. While it may be so that there is a chemical imbalance in the muscles of persons with FMS, the question to be asked is why this occurs primarily in women.
Chronic Fatigue, particularly among women seems to be an American focus of interest of late by, among others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their primary thrust is that of genetic mutations. And so, the search for medical causes of FMS and CFS continues. Once again the endless questions about why these conditions plague primarily women.
As this research continues few (if any) suggest that FMS and CFS may occur more frequently in women as a result of oppressive social structures in society which condition women (and some men) to put the needs of others first before their own. This sense of always being ‘on duty’ could result in an over-aroused nervous sytem. In my book I delve into this theory in greater depth. My main thrust is: WHY WOMEN?