Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes that they have now discovered a link that chronic fatigue syndrome shares with the symptoms brought on by menopause. Gynecologic order is also affected by the link between the two health concerns. Normally, CFS presents itself with muscle pain, headaches, sleep that does not replenish one’s self, and faulty concentration. When four or more of these symptoms persist too long, an individual is likely to be diagnosed with CFS.
Children can contract the illness too, but it is an affliction that appears more often than not in adulthood, and to an even greater degree in women, and it only increases its likelihood for women in their 40s. Research done by the CDC’s Chronic Viral Disease Branch, which includes Dr. Elizabeth Unger, may just explain why the statistics are the way they are.
The study they performed had their results recently published in the medical magazine Menopause. Dr. Unger and her team examined over 150 women that were members of an American case-control study that spanned from 2004 to 2009. Among those involved in the study, all those who were not controls had chronic fatigue syndrome. However, all women, healthy or not, were asked to complete a questionnaire on their gynecologic health.
Once the surveys were collected and looked over, the research team was able to determine that the women afflicted by CFS were more likely to experience menopausal symptoms earlier than the women in the control group. Not only would they hit menopause sooner, at or before turning 45, they would suffer from other gynecologic abnormalities as well.
Nationwide, women are at least 12 times more susceptible to suffer from pelvic pain unrelated to menstruation if they have CFS. Some of the things that would burden those women are interstitial cystitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other unpleasant effects brought on by the added stress of chronic fatigue syndrome in women in more frequent excessive bleeding, bleeding in between menstrual cycles and frequently missed periods. Those same women relied on hormones to treat their menopause.
Surgical operations as remedies were a second favorite for women with CFS. Dr. Unger and her colleagues learned that nearly 70 percent of women had hysterectomies, which is less common for women without CFS. However, many of the women who underwent the hysterectomy procedure were young ladies who had not yet been diagnosed with CFS.
Dr. Unger’s team advise hospitals and other healthcare facilities to take heed of their research findings. They stated how past studies have linked chronic fatigue syndrome with the individual symptoms of menopause, but now there is evidence to support that there is a connection with menopause as a whole.
However, there is no explanation as to why the link exists, so researchers will be hard at work to understand the phenomenon. The first step, according to Dr. Margery Gass, the head of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS), is to assist physicians and researchers to determine which symptoms are mutual between chronic fatigue syndrome and menopause. From there, performing more focused studies on women in their 40s should shed light on why it strikes them specifically. Once all that is said and done, women’s healthcare should improve a great deal.
By Matthew Austin Bowers
Photo by Brett Weinstein – Flickr License