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10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Dr. Amy Myers.

It’s estimated that fibromyalgia affects approximately 10 million people in the United States. Fibromyalgia is classically characterized by chronic pain, particularly muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, brain fog or cognitive impairment, depression and painful tender points throughout the body.

Conventional medicine has yet to uncover the cause of fibromyalgia and only offers management of symptoms through pain medications and antidepressants.

Functional medicine, on the other hand, looks to find the root cause of fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases, treating the problem at the root level to restore the patient to health. As a functional medicine physician, I’ve helped many patients recover from fibromyalgia. Below are the top ten root causes of fibromyalgia I see in my clinic.

1. Gluten intolerance

Gluten has been linked to more than 55 diseases and is often called the “big masquerader.” The reason for this is that the majority of gluten intolerance symptoms are not digestive in nature, but are instead neurological, such as pain, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances, behavioral issues, fatigue and depression.

2. Candida overgrowth

Candida is a fungus, or yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your intestines. When overproduced, Candida breaks down the wall of the intestines and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, digestive issues and pain. Virtually every one of my patients with fibromyalgia has had Candida overgrowth.

3. Thyroid

It’s vital that your doctor check all six blood markers to accurately measure your thyroid gland’s function. It’s also imperative that your doctor use the optimal levels rather than the standard reference range when assessing and diagnosing thyroid disorders. Getting my patient’s thyroid levels into an optimal range typically alleviates their fatigue, brain fog, sleep disturbances and depression.

4. Vitamin deficiencies

Magnesium, vitamin D and B12 deficiency are the most common vitamin deficiencies I see in those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I’ve had several patients completely reverse their fibromyalgia symptoms with magnesium alone. The best way to measure magnesium is a red blood cell (RBC) magnesium level, which can be tested through any conventional lab.

5. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and Leaky gut

There are more bacteria in us and on us then there are of our own cells. When these bacteria get out of balance through use of antibiotics or a sugar-rich diet, we can lose our ability to digest and absorb nutrients, particularly B12. Gluten can cause SIBO and leaky gut and SIBO and leaky gut can lead gluten and other food intolerances. It’s a catch-22 and a vicious cycle. You must “fix the gut” first in anyone with fibromyalgia.

6. Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are very toxic substances produced by molds. Conventional environmental mold testing only tests for levels of mold spores and does not test for mycotoxins. I use a urine mycotoxin test in my clinic to determine if someone has been exposed to toxic molds.

7. Mercury toxicity

I recommend that all my patients find a biological dentist and have their mercury amalgam fillings removed. Mercury is toxic to our bodies and can be one piece of the puzzle for those with fibromyalgia. I then recommend heavy metal testing using a pre- and post-DMPS urine challenge test.

8. Adrenal fatigue

Adrenal fatigue is a result of the chronic stress. Chronic pain is a stress to the adrenal glands, though it’s typically not the initial adrenal stressor. The initial stressor is usually something such as food intolerances, Candida, mercury toxicity, vitamin deficiencies or mycotoxins. My goal is to support the adrenals with adaptogenic herbs while we search for the root cause of the stress and correct it.

9. MTHFR mutations

This is a genetic test you can get though any conventional lab. The more mutations you have to the MTHFR gene the less able you are to methylate and detoxify toxins, such as mercury and lead. The more mutations you have at this gene the higher your requirements for methyl-B6, methyl-B12 and folinic acid in order to keep your detoxification pathways working properly.

10. Glutathione deficiency

Glutathione is the most critical part of our body’s detoxification system. Glutathione gets recycled in our body — unless our toxic burden gets too high, or we lack GSTM1 and GSTP1, the enzymes needed to recycle and produce glutathione. Taking glutathione or the precursors (NAC, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle) often help dramatically with fatigue.

As you can see from the above list, many of these causes are interrelated, and often there’s no single root cause of fibromyalgia. Because getting to the root can be complex, I recommend that you find a functional medicine physician in your area to help uncover the root cause for you. You don’t need to suffer needlessly or mask your symptoms with pain medications and antidepressants. There are doctors likes myself who can help you!

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7 thoughts on “10 Causes of Fibromyalgia Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About”

  1. IanH says:

    of these have been shown to be a cause of fibromyalgia.

  2. elvis321 says:

    This article is total nonsense! These are not the causes for FMS as we all know. These listing are in the case of thyroid – actuall illnesses that may overlap and cause subsequent, similar symptoms.
    Candida, mold and gluten (never stop eating anything because you read it in an article- see an Allergist),are all trends by those selling something, that have yet to be proven to “CAUSE” anything. A cause has an actual medical and scientific route of issue within the body. A heart valve that is floppy…may be worsened by external conditions…but- THEY DO NOT CAUSE IT!
    Please don’t dish out information to people who are ill and already as I call us “suckers for a cure”. The money we don’t have is better spent getting treatments that help reduce symptoms.

  3. shianne7 says:

    First of all, I want to say that my post is not speaking of all Doctors. Where I live, they don’t know much about FMS OR CFS at all. Most of them don’t even acknowledge me when I have an appointment. In 1994,I was diagnosed with CFS,FMS and recurring EBV virus. My life has been total “HELL” to say the least. When I do get desperate for help and make an appointment, it is such a devastating and humiliating visit. The last time I saw a Doctor, I had been in relapse for 6 months and crawling to the bathroom if I needed to go. During my visit, I spoke once, to say that I was so fatigued and weak that I was unable to hold myself up. He laughed at me and didn’t believe me. I was so desperate for help and was treated like a piece of garbage. Most people just overlook me as if they think that I want pity. What I want is a little compassion for a human being. So, my question is, WHERE IS THIS PERSON THAT CARED ENOUGH TO DO THIS RESEARCH??? Last time I researched, the medical community didn’t know ONE reason for sure. Here is #11 to add to the list. Maybe a cause is prolonged traumatic stress to the nervous system. When is the world ever going to realize just how much we all are suffering??? When the DOCTORS do what they took an oath to do!! Please don’t go to Dr. FRANCES LORET DE MOLA

  4. fibromatters says:

    No one researcher or clinician deserves to take credit for revealing the still unknown true underlying mechanisms/causes fibromyalgia. Instead, she deserves to be criticized for her exaggerations and lack of credible references. (FYI- Dr. Myers, you need to improve the credibility of those references.)

  5. leggs1959 says:

    I was tested for these during my initial visit, and he took care of what needed taking care of.

  6. pinkclouds says:

    And you are wrong for condemming what is some very sound advice for the millions of people running around calling their ailments FMS. I am no doctor, but you don’t need credentials to go down the supplements path and realize its value in treating illnesses. In fact, going to a drug pushing Western doctor might ensure you stay sick for the rest of your life. What is laughable is the masking of symptoms with FMS drugs with side affects worse than the condition. Take your choice. Yes, I’ve had what you call FMS. Multiple times after I was diagnosed with hypo-T. Crashing fatigue, tender aching body, acute depression, severe malaise where I did not get off the couch for 3 days. But the issue seemed familiar to me and I recalled I felt exactly the same way after I gave birth to my daughter. I had gone back on birth control pills and after the first month when I took my last pill I experienced the worst PMS of my life. It lasted for 3 days and gradually subsided. I had never in my life experienced something so horrible. My entire body was in pain and I was severly depressed. So fast forward to my stress riddled life now and after 3 occurrences of “FMS” I instead started taking Reishi mushroom as well as other supplements in an effort to balance my body. I have never had another episode since. My point is..
    The kind Doctor which you so eagerly condemmed was merely trying to tell folks that sometimes the answer is easy and quite in front of your face. Since no one had “FMS” 100 years ago we would be remiss to not admit that major stress with accompanying resident conditions (thyroid, mentrual cycles, hormonal imbalances, candida or together can cause dibilitating physical and mental problems. In my opinion, I think hormonal imbalances are responsible for most of what ails women, which is either constributed to or exacerbated by resident conditions. Just look at PMS or hypothyroidism. My diet and stress levels certainly contribute to how adversely I am affected by these resident conditions. Especially Hashimotos, which is absolutely exacerbated by stress.

    If there has been no definitive cause for FMS all these years I’m guessing it’s because FMS is a broad representation of multiple manifestations of mordern day maladies or insufficiencies and since everyone is different,the manifestations are many. Stress, pollution, poor quality foods, resident conditions. Frankly, anyone with FMS should start taking vitamins immediately and then move into supplements such a Reishi, Valerian Root, St. John’s Wort (if you can). Becasue although these supplements won’t cure you, they will calm you and help you deal with stress better. A body under stress needs more than foods can give it.

    Stepping off the box and will close with this: Very rarely is a symptom caused by a rare condition or disease. Usually the cause is surprisingly simple to address. You are sick because you are not doing the right things to balance your body and correct insufficiences. Yes, you have lightening bolts going through your head. You’re body is telling you something, probably telling you to go to the healthfood store 🙂

  7. maryandpapo says:

    First of all, I want to say to Shianne7 I hear where you’re coming from. I’ve had the same problem with doctors. They think we want pity and look at us like we’re nuts. I’ve been so sick with fatigue, chronic pain, repeated calcium kidney stones, issues with my thyroid, tsh being high at times. All the doctor does is bring up my mg from 50 to 75. My neck red with a lump that appears right where the thyroid is, and no doctor can tell me what its from. I’ve asked them if by me living for a whole year in an apartment that was full of black mold, back in the 80’s in Germany, would have anything to do with my issues. They laugh at me. think I’m nuts!!! Its so frustrating to deal with doctors that have no idea what it is to live with chronic pain & yet have no answers. Ended up in the emergency room few days ago, cause the pain was too much, they tell me due to my fibromyalgia is causing acute myofascial strain on my face. therefore, my neck looks this way. I dont know where to turn to or see anymore. I’ve seen an immunologist, endocrinologist, rheaumatologist, neurologist, etc.. and none can tell me why I have chronic pain, 🙁

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