impact factor
logo
 

Full Papers

 

Pain and transition: evaluating fibromyalgia in transgender individuals


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

 

  1. Internal Medicine H, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel. levit.dana@gmail.com
  2. Internal Medicine H, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  3. Internal Medicine H, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  4. Internal Medicine H, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  5. Institute of Endocrinology Metabolism and Hypertension, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.
  6. Internal Medicine H, Sourasky Medical Centre, Tel Aviv & Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

CER13437
Full Papers

purchase article

PMID: 33506751 [PubMed]

Received: 11/04/2020
Accepted : 25/05/2020
In Press: 13/01/2021

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:
As members of a gender minority, transgender individuals face many challenges. Many experience distress, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation related to gender non-conformity and transphobia. Stress and trauma may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia (FM) syndrome, characterised by widespread pain and fatigue. The prevalence of FM among transgenders is not known.
METHODS:
Transgender participants were recruited at a specialised clinic. Questionnaires included the Widespread Pain Index (WPI), the Symptom Severity Score (SSS) and the SF-36. Data concerning hormonal treatment protocols was retrieved from charts. The current prevalence of FM was determined, as well as the prevalence before and after testosterone treatment among TM. Pearson correlations were calculated between all measures.
RESULTS:
115 participants were recruited, 62.6% transgender men (TM), 37.4% transgender women (TW). 17 individuals (14.8%) fulfilled the 2011 modified ACR FM criteria, for a rate of 19.4% among TM and 6.98% among TW. Among TM, FM was associated with younger age, smoking and SF-36 sub-scales related to physical functioning, role limitation due to physical pain, fatigue, pain and general health. Among TW, FM was associated with social status, employment, depression, existing medical treatment and substance abuse, as well as SF-36 subscales related to role limitations affected due to pain.
CONCLUSIONS:
Fibromyalgia symptoms are highly prevalent among Israeli transgender individuals and may be related to psychological distress and gender dysphoria. Healthcare professionals treating transgenders should remain vigilant for the occurrence of chronic pain, fatigue and other FM-related symptoms and be prepared to treat and/or refer such patients accordingly.

Rheumatology Article