What is fibromyalgia and what causes it? Angelina Szuch of Banyan Healthcare offers her expert insight…
Fibromyalgia is a common but widely misunderstood disorder. People often associate it with widespread muscle and joint pain, stiffness, disrupted sleep and fatigue. Fibromyalgia sufferers frequently complain about struggles with memory or “fibro fog”, anxiety and depression. Symptoms can begin suddenly, after trauma or infection, or gradually develop. Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, and even more so as they get older.
There is no specific test to definitively diagnose fibromyalgia. Often people are diagnosed after other causes of a person’s symptoms are ruled out. The most common diseases that primary care providers, rheumatologists and neurologists screen for are autoimmune conditions and neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis. There are other causes of fibromyalgia symptoms that are generally not investigated by mainstream medical providers. Here are the six most common underlying causes that can be addressed if they exist, and your symptoms drastically improved.
There are several types of chronic infection that can cause fibromyalgia. The first is Candida overgrowth. Candida is a fungus or yeast that naturally lives in your intestines in small amounts. When your body overproduces this yeast, it can break down the wall of your intestines and penetrate the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts. These byproducts cause a host of unpleasant symptoms including brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues, and pain. The second is chronic bacterial infections, particularly Lyme disease, and the third is chronic viral infections, including Epstein-Barr, HHV-6 (Roseola), cytomegalovirus (CMV) and the herpes viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes.
Over 90% of the adult population has been exposed to HHV-6, EBV or the virus that cause cold sores. These viruses take up lifelong residence in our bodies. When your body is constantly using its energy to fight an infection, there isn’t enough left to meet all your bodies demands.
Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies
Magnesium, Vitamin D, and B12 are common vitamin deficiencies in people diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The reality is our diets are poor in these nutrients. The nutrients are like fuel for your engine. If you don’t fuel up, the engine can’t run. A good place to start is with a good high-quality multivitamin, multi-mineral, fish oil and CoQ10. Additional testing can help determine what your body might be missing.
Chronic stress often results in adrenal fatigue. When your body is chronically stressed, your body diverts pregnenolone to make cortisol at the expense of making progesterone, which disrupts the balance of your hormones. Stress is part of our daily life and most times, we can’t escape it. What we can do is learn to manage it and manage our response to stressful situations. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, prayer, exercise and other activities you find relaxing can have a positive impact on your ability to manage stress in a healthy way. There are also nutritional and herbal remedies that can help reduce the impact of stress on your body.
Hormones, including thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, all play a vital part in how our body communicates with itself. Hormones control our heart rate, metabolism, reproduction growth, and repair. When our hormones are out of balance, it can cause serious health problems. You may need hormone replacement therapy to help get your body back on track.
We are exposed to chemicals and heavy metals on a daily basis. Problems occur when either we have an excessively high exposure that overwhelms our system or when the body cannot adequately clear “every day” exposure to environmental toxins. Some people have a genetic make-up that makes it difficult for their body to detoxify.
The most important thing you can do is to reduce your exposure to toxins found in household products, personal care products, and food sources. Purchasing organic foods when possible and non-toxic personal care and household products is an important step in reducing your overall toxic exposure.
As many as 50% of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia have small fiber neuropathy. This is a condition where the small fiber peripheral nerves are damaged, causing widespread pain. The most common cause is endocrine or metabolic disorders including diabetes, but other causes include vitamin B-12 deficiencies, autoimmune conditions, Hepatitis C, HIV, Lyme disease and any of several herpes viruses.
The most important thing you can do for neuropathy is to address the underlying cause to stop further decline. Alpha Lipoic Acid has been shown to reduce the painful symptoms of neuropathy. There are some complementary therapies, like Pulsed Electromagnetic Frequency (PEMF) that may help relieve pain and stimulate nerve growth.
There are many interrelated root causes of fibromyalgia, with one condition resulting in, or exacerbating another. To address the cause(s) you will need a thorough evaluation by a clinician with training in Functional or Naturopathic Medicine. Clinicians trained in Functional Medicine are trained to evaluate a people holistically, considering the body is interconnected. As a clinician who has personally experienced these symptoms and experience recovery, I’m here to support you on your journey toward health.
For more information, visit www.banyanhealth.care