Is the cause of fibromyalgia both a nature/nurture conundrum?
The question arises about why fibromyalgia is more prevalent in highly sensitive women and men. The debate about nature/nurture has not yielded specific answers and for a while, I have thought of it as a moot point. As a nurse/sociologist I have leaned toward the impact of the social environment in early childhood.
But, as some science in human sexuality suggests there is a relationship between levels of testosterone in utero and the extent to which specific traits are manifested after birth. I am now even more confused. However, I continue to believe that both what happens to the development of the fetus and afterward in the environment are both relevant, although to what degree each plays a more significant role may never be known.
Does fibromyalgia occur as a result of an anxious mother who could not easily handle stress/anxiety because she was not herself exposed to enough testosterone, thereby depleting the fetus of ‘enough’ testosterone? If this fetus had more exposure to testosterone would she then be more qualified for the more mechanically oriented occupations like science and math, as has been suggested?
A Google controversy has brought forth arguments from both sides regarding sexism versus science. The neuroscientist Debra Soh, writing in the Globe and Mail, August 9, 2017, A11, states: “Contrary to what detractors would have you believe, women are on average, higher on neuroticism and agreeableness, and lower in stress tolerance”.
My initial reaction, given the state of the world in 2017 was that women and highly sensitive men are indeed more anxious and less able to effectively handle the chaos and instability that men (mostly) with high levels of testosterone have created. One need only to watch the news to notice the continued presence of men raising havoc in the world.
What have testosterone levels done to those of us with low levels of the hormone? Are we, in general, neurotic, anxious, and passively agreeable as Soh suggests? Has that resulted in syndromes of medically unexplained syndromes (MUS) such as fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and PTSD to name a few?
Did we develop these syndromes because we have less testosterone or is it because we cannot tolerate the ways in which women, visible minorities, the LGBTQ, the poor, and other disadvantaged groups are being treated? It may be these conditions are the result of both a nature/nurture issue, but seriously, is it because we have less testosterone as a result of our mothers not being exposed to enough of it? There are more questions than answers.
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