Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes symptoms such as pain and tenderness, fatigue, and sleep and memory problems.
Many of these symptoms can overlap or be mistaken for other conditions, the Mayo Clinic researchers noted.
They examined data from people in Olmsted County, Minn., and estimated that 6.4% of people aged 21 and older had fibromyalgia but only 1.1% of them had been diagnosed with the condition.
What the study found
The researchers also found that 20 times more men had fibromyalgia symptoms than had been diagnosed, while three times more women had fibromyalgia symptoms than had been diagnosed.
The study was published online in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
More research is needed to determine why many people with fibromyalgia, particularly men, go undiagnosed, said lead author Dr. Ann Vincent, medical director of the Mayo Clinic's Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Clinic.
"Health care providers may not think of this diagnosis when face to face with a male patient with musculoskeletal pain and fatigue," she said in a clinic news release. "These findings need to be explored further."
There is no diagnostic test to determine if a person has fibromyalgia. Although there is no cure for the condition, there are effective treatments.
Research has shown that diagnosing people with fibromyalgia which is far more common in women than in men reduces health care costs because they need fewer tests and referrals to determine the cause of their symptoms.