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Pain. 2011 Jul;152(7):1495-501. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2011.01.048. Epub 2011 Mar 21.

Elevated levels of gonadotrophins but not sex steroids are associated with musculoskeletal pain in middle-aged and older European men.

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  • 1Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Stopford Building, Oxford road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine the association of hormone levels with the occurrence of musculoskeletal pain. Men ages 40 to 79 years were recruited from population registers in 8 European centres. Subjects were asked to complete a postal questionnaire, which enquired about lifestyle and the occurrence of musculoskeletal pain over the past month. Total testosterone (T), oestradiol (E2), luteinising hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were assayed from a fasting blood sample. The association between pain status and hormone levels was assessed using multinomial logistic regression with results expressed as relative risk ratios (RRR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). A total of 3206 men had complete data on pain status. Of these, 8.7% reported chronic widespread pain (CWP), whereas 50% had some pain although not CWP and were classified as having some pain. T and E2 were not associated with musculoskeletal pain, whereas significant differences in LH and FSH levels were found between pain groups. After adjustment for age and other possible confounders, the association between pain status and both LH and FSH persisted. Compared with those in the lowest tertile of LH, those in the highest tertile were more likely to report some pain (vs no pain, RRR=1.28; 95% CI 1.09 to 1.50) and also CWP (vs no pain, RRR=1.51; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.07). Similar results were found for FSH. Gonadotrophins, but not sex steroid hormone levels, are associated with musculoskeletal pain in men.

Copyright © 2011 International Association for the Study of Pain. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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