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Why Does Chronic Fatigue Affect More Women than Men?


Why does chronic fatigue affect more women than men?

What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

Everyone gets tired after undergoing stress. But chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) goes beyond the normal tiredness we experience from our everyday activities. Chronic fatigue syndrome also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is a medical condition in which the patient experiences an extreme fatigue or tiredness that comes on suddenly or often and doesn’t improve with rest. This complicated disorder is unexplainable by any medical condition. The patient may feel too tired to perform their daily activities or gets easily exhausted with no patent reason and the problem is, it get worse with time. Many women suffer from this pain for months or even years.

Over the years many scientist and researchers have try to identify the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome but they have failed in their task to come out with a single cause for this disease. More so, because many other illnesses also produce similar symptoms make it more difficult for CFS to be diagnosed.

Common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • Chronic Headache
  • Aches in Muscle and joint area
  • Tender lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • General body weakness

Why women are more affected by chronic fatigue syndrome than men?

It is a fact that chronic fatigue syndrome is diagnosed in women more than men. Generally, women make up four out of five reported cases of chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed. Although no conclusive result have been made on the relationship between gender and chronic fatigue syndrome. However, researchers have come up with some hypothesis for why the prevalence of CFS is significantly higher in women than in men.

Effect of female hormone

Previous researchers have linked the high level of hormone (estrogen dominance) in women as the possible reason why women have the tendency to come down with chronic illness and an autoimmune condition.

Some hormonal factors cause over reactive stress response in women which triggers gene expression responsible for malfunctioning of the endocrine system.

The higher rate of stress response in woman is known to be a survival factor for them being a procreative species. However, this heightens power of this hormones steers the risk of women towards disease.

Reaction to stress

Study has shown that men and women react to stress in a very different way. How women react to stress is found to be more complicated. A test was carried out to measure the hormonal response of both gender under stress initiation, the result confirmed that stress response is continued in women for a longer period in contrast to men.

Considering the fact that there has been enormous increase in the number of women suffering from long-term stress disorders like depression, irritable bowel syndrome and anxiety to double that of men is enough to consider the hypothesis to be true.

Complex immune system in women

Female complex immune system often protected them against infection, but it is still responsible for their difficulties in recovering once they are infected while men recover in short time. The female predominance in post-infectious mononucleosis actuates CFS. Women often develop an autoimmune disorder like Lupus even in their earlier age of 5 to 10 years many of which continues to their older age.

Other studies have also related women and CFS to effects of testosterone, immune shifts during pregnancy, menstrual cycle, and gynecological disorders.

Several research and study have established that gender-related hormone difference plays a big role in the occurrence of autoimmunity with diseases more frequently in women more than men. However, further research is still going on to confirm this hypothesis and seek for an answer as regarded the significant inclination of women being affected with ME/CFS.