Do Fibromyalgia Patients Suffer from Digestive Problems?

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Fibromyalgia and digestive disorders

You probably already know that your gastrointestinal tract consists of your large intestine, small intestine, esophagus, mouth, and stomach.

Also involved are the gall bladder, pancreas, and liver. When you are chewing your food, enzymes are secreted in your saliva to break it down into proteins and carbohydrates.

Gastrointestinal problems are those that have an effect on your colon, esophagus, stomach, and small/large intestines.

There are many different conditions from acid reflux syndrome to irritable bowel syndrome and can cause generalized gas/bloating or pain in your intestines, colon, or stomach. In addition, you may experience chronic constipation or diarrhea.

Finally, you may only experience one of these issues or you may experience all of them.

Pain associated with digestive disorders can occur immediately after eating or even hours later. In some individuals, the pain is almost always manifesting itself.

You may wish to try several different types of food, supplements, and diets- but you may only be able to decrease the symptoms a little.

Why GI Pain?

With the condition of fibro, your autonomic nervous system is not functioning the way it should. Your ANS is comprised of both your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.

When one of them is working, the other one is sluggish. When it comes to fibro, the sympathetic nervous system is almost always on, which means that the parasympathetic is fairly sluggish.

Your parasympathetic system is what controls the process of digestion in your body. The result is that when you eat, your food is not completely digested.

When your GI tract is not working properly due to the fact that your parasympathetic system is sluggish, the gastric juices that are not used will be left in the stomach and end up causing problems.

In addition, food in your gut that is not completely digested will accumulate and then enter the colon- which will cause the problems of irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, the food is attacked by the good bacteria in your gut, creating methane gas.

Irritation to your GI tract can cause cramping as your system is sluggishly working, which can end up causing constipation.

Of course, in addition, long term acid reflux can also lead to the excess acid to reflux upward- which can cause burning or irritation to the esophagus as well as other issues.

So, basically, if you have the condition of fibro, your GI system is likely working extremely slowly which can cause lots of other problems. You should be aware that this is part of the condition and not an illness in and of itself.

In some cases, individuals with the condition of fibro will find that eating smaller meals throughout the day- instead of three large ones- their GI system will operate much better and they will be able to reduce some of their symptoms.

However, keep in mind that this is not going to cure the condition, only reduce the symptoms.

In some cases, your physician may wish to prescribe certain medications such as antibiotics for treating GI conditions.

Problems arise with this because an antibiotic not only kills the bad bacteria, but also the good bacteria. This is why- especially when taking an antibiotic- you should supplement your diet with a good probiotic.

Another great way to help your GI tract to function better is to clean up your diet- meaning pay attention to what you should and should not be eating.

Choose whole foods over processed junk foods. The processed foods are much more difficult for your body to digest- and in many cases, they may pass through your GI tract undigested.

This causes extra pressure to be put on your liver, causing it to work harder- adding stress. When stress increases, the other symptoms of fibro also increase.

Of course, your argument may be that the high quality foods are more expensive. The truth though, is that though at first glance they are, it’s actually cheaper because you won’t be eating as much.

Plus, since processed foods go through more steps, they are actually more expensive overall. So, try eating local, in-season foods because they will be much better for you and will taste better as well.

For individuals who are blessed enough to live in rural areas, check out the local farmer’s markets.

Making modifications to your diet does not have to be difficult, as it’s not something that you’re going to do overnight.

Start out by educating yourself. Visit one of the local health food stores and pick up some free literature to guide you in this process. In addition, you may be able to find a book that can help you to change your eating habits.

Another very common problem is lactose intolerance. When a baby is born, the enzyme lactase is present in their bodies to help them to digest mother’s milk.

By the time the baby grows into a teen, this enzyme is lost and therefore it is much more difficult to digest dairy products.

From an anthropological point of view, when we are weaned, we don’t really need dairy products in our diet.

However, we do enjoy drinking milk and eating ice cream, right? Still, if you have the condition of fibro, it’s best to avoid these types of products, as they require your body to work that much harder, increasing stress on the body- which increases your fibro symptoms.

You may argue that dairy is the best way to get calcium in your body- but this is not true because there are many fresh veggies that are full of calcium.

Your body can digest these veggies much better. The truth is that milk is not the healthy food we’ve been taught- it’s actually food that is given to calves to help them grow.

Consider this: humans are the only mammals who keep drinking milk/consuming dairy products after we are weaned. Maybe these other mammals know something we don’t?

Digestive disorders are extremely common among individuals with the condition of fibro, and while you won’t be able to solve them- you can help to decrease them by making a few simple changes in your diet.


The Big Six (GI problems) A Common Symptom of Fibromyalgia