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Domestic Abuse Linked to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue

Domestic violence was found to predispose to a higher risk of fibromyalgia and those developing chronic fatigue syndrome.

Researchers studied the association between intimate partner violence (IPV) with fibromyalgia and CFS, using a retrospective open cohort design of patients entered into the “The Heath Improvement Network” database between 1995 and 2017.

Women exposed to IPV (domestic violence; n =18,547) were compared to unexposed (n = 74,188), assessing for the outcomes of fibromyalgia and CFS.

They found that 97 IPV women who developed fibromyalgia (incidence rate [IR], 1.63 per 1,000 person-years) compared to 239 women in the unexposed group (IR, 0.83 per 1,000 person-years). This translates to a nearly 2 fold risk (incidence rate ratio of 1.73).

For CFS, there was a similar pattern, with 19 exposed women developing CFS (IR, 0.32 per 1,000 person-years) versus 53 in the unexposed group (IR, 0.18 per 1,000 person-years), yielding an adjusted incidence rate ratio of 1.92.

These findings point to an association between a history of IPV in women and the development of functional syndromes, such as fibromyalgia and CFS.  They postulated on the role of stress contributing to the biopsychosocial pathways leading to FM and CFS. 


The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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