Fibromyalgia resembles an extreme form of arthritis with fatigue and chronic bone and muscle pain likely; increasingly the causes are becoming clearer with an increase in certain gut bacteria and a decrease in others caused by stress, illness, trauma and even toxic chemicals.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is an illness affecting your bones and your muscles, with joint pain, sometimes chronic, and fatigue widespread and regular occurrences. Medical journals and doctors will tell you there’s no cure, but then they have little idea what causes it.
They will suggest exercise, healthy eating and stress management help. And then they will give you drugs (despite not knowing what causes it). The illness is twice as common in women as in men.
‘Official’ Causes of Fibromyalgia
Doctors think it is something to do with the brain and the spine and how they process pain messages. It is actually totally about your gut microbiome as we will explore.
You are more like to develop it if you are female, have depression or mood swings, take little exercise, you have some form of arthritis, and/or it runs in the family; it can come about through physical or emotional abuse.
The National Arthritis Foundation, however, believe it is linked to ‘muscle overuse’, depression, sleep disturbance, and abnormal levels of toxins in the blood, brain or spinal fluid.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Severe aches and pains, depression, poor sleep, fatigue, headaches, menstrual problems.
The treatment of Fibromyalgia
When doctors don’t understand a disease or its cause, they throw drugs at the symptoms. So pain relievers, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure drugs are common practice. Actually, drugs – especially drug cocktails – can make matters worse. Indeed we have seen a number of people who went on the get cancer. But then if you leave an illness untreated, plus you throw drugs into the mix, you have to expect another chronic illness to come along.
The real cause of Fibromyalgia?
i. The gut microbiome and fibromyalgia –
Arthritis has been linked to issues with your gut microbiome – a loss of commensal (good) bacteria; and increase in pathogens (bad, toxin producing bacteria). So has depression, mood swings and nervousness. Lack of exercise, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle can even run in families.
Many people with fibromyalgia have bowel problems – irregular bowel movements, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating and, in about a third of patients, even IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).
In 2018, a UK study of 950 patients found some common threads to this illness: ill health, menopause, trauma to the body, stress, emotional trauma. And it is known from the Human Microbiome Project that any and all these factors can cause imbalance in the gut microbiome – stress has much the same effect as a course of antibiotics.
Sure enough, a study of 77 women with the disease and 79 women controls without (in the journal PAIN), showed significant differences in the microbiomes of those with the disease. 19 particular strains of bacteria were present in higher or lower levels; the wider the differences, the more extreme the symptoms.
ii. Small intestine bacterial overgrowth and fibromyalgia –
Fibromyalgia has also been shown to be an ‘illness’ of the small intestine. In 90-100 per cent of cases, the patient has Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO. SIBO is not caused by any one type of bacterium; more that bacteria which should be in the colon have ‘escaped’ into the small intestine. This ‘infestation’ interferes with normal food digestion, causes damage to the lining of the wall of the small intestine with the result that bacteria can pass into the blood stream, where they produce their waste material, which increases toxicity in the blood, raises inflammation and promotes an immune reaction, resulting in aches and pains all over the body. (Sometimes books will talk about fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disease).
Fibromyalgia is caused by infestation of the small intestine.
As you will read in our article ‘Heal your Gut’ on this website, or in our best-selling book, ‘Heal your Gut; Heal your Body’, the start point is to eat more natural soluble fibre, take a good multi-strain probiotic like Probio8 Max which can help heal the gut lining and then increase your intake of pectins and inulins. After about 4 to 6 weeks you can then start to eat foods containing bacteria – unpasteurized milk for strains of Bifidobacterium, Kefir for strains of Lactobacillus, and saukraut for a number of other species.
Apple Cider Vinegar is helpful but will duplicate bacteria with these three foods. Kombucha, Tempeh and kimchi are others.
Patients may be helped by yeast killers such as oregano oil, caprylic acid and pau d’arco, or the excellent artemisinin, which also kills certain parasites and pathogens.
Patients must absolutely avoid: gluten, mass market cows’ dairy, and junk food.
And drugs, especially Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), antibiotics and steroids.
And stress, alcohol, pickled foods, salt and sugar. And poor sleeping pattern.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus, unpasteurized organic milk, and glycine can help heal the gut wall; Bifidobacterium infantis helps heal IBS.
The most important thing is to co-ordinate your diet, with the killing of bad bacteria and the replenishment of good bacteria. What you cannot do is just ignore it; the symptoms will get worse, the causes can lead to something worse.