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Papers of the Week

Papers: 25 Feb 2023 - 3 Mar 2023


Human Studies, Neuromodulation, Sex Differences

Abdominal/Pelvic Pain

2023 Feb 18





Fibromyalgia in Pregnancy: Neuro-Endocrine Fluctuations Provide Insight into Pathophysiology and Neuromodulation Treatment.


Mucci V, Demori I, Browne CJ, Deblieck C, Burlando B


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain disorder with unclear pathophysiological mechanisms, which leads to challenges in patient management. In addition to pain, the disorder presents with a broad range of symptoms, such as sleep disruption, chronic fatigue, brain fog, depression, muscle stiffness, and migraine. FM has a considerable female prevalence, and it has been shown that symptoms are influenced by the menstrual cycle and periods of significant hormonal and immunological changes. There is increasing evidence that females with FM experience an aggravation of symptoms in pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester and after childbirth. In this perspective paper, we focus on the neuro-endocrine interactions that occur between progesterone, allopregnanolone, and cortisol during pregnancy, and propose that they align with our previously proposed model of FM pathogenesis based on GABAergic “weakening” in a thalamocortical neural loop system. Based on our hypothesis, we introduce the possibility of utilizing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a non-invasive treatment potentially capable of exerting sex-specific effects on FM patients.