Irritable Bowel Symptoms

Are they related to Fibromyalgia?

When many with fibromyalgia complain of irritable bowel symptoms, they're often given a separate diagnosis for each condition. However, many doctors would agree that a large percentage of their fibromyalgia patients complain of these symptoms during their examination more often than not. This is causing some researchers to focus their attention on a possible link between these two conditions.

According to most experts within the medical community, the true cause of irritable bowel symptoms is unknown, but over the years there's been some very noteworthy and thought provoking theories introduced. These proposals range from some type of intestinal infection, a nervous system dysfunction, or a cellular energy deficiency.

While these theories may or may not be accepted as possible causes, it's the lack of visual evidence that's still raising questions. One of the main distinctions between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative colitis is that the tissue or structure of the bowel isn't compromised or abnormal.

This leaves only speculation as to what's causing these symptoms to surface. The most common irritable bowel symptoms are as follows:

irritable bowel symptoms, woman with stomach pain

Abdominal pain Comes and goes but usually after meals. The pain can be sharp or stabbing and usually subsides after a bowel movement

Chronic and often painful diarrhea Often loose and watery. Also known as leaky gut syndrome

Gas or bloating Can also harden stools and give a feeling of being full

Chronic and painful constipation Sometimes resulting in bloody or mucus covered stools

Nausea and Loss of appetite

Spastic colon Spasms in the stomach, colon or rectum sometimes resulting in acid reflux and chest pain

Are They Linked?

Some may ask why digestive system issues are somehow connected with a disease predominately known for chronic musculoskeletal pain like fibromyalgia. This is where the debate begins.

Since the true causes of irritable bowel symptoms are still unknown; this presents an ironic similarity with fibromyalgia. With both conditions having no definitive worldwide excepted cause, yielding no laboratory test results, and the fact that a huge percentage of fibromyalgia patients experience many irritable bowel symptoms just strengthens the case that these conditions may be related.

Below are some brief explanations of the most compelling theories for irritable bowel symptoms presented by experts today. They include but are not limited to:


Where the body is deprived of cellular energy due to constant muscle spasm, contraction and fatigue. This deficiency also interrupts the normal muscle movements and contractions of the gastrointestinal system which prevents food from properly be moved through the intestine. This causes the food to spoil and ferment. The gases and bacteria formed from this process can cause diarrhea, constipation and abdominal pain from gas and bloating.

This lack of energy also causes the body to signal a need for quick energy producing sugars and carbohydrates in order to quench this deficiency. This just adds to gas and bloating because this presents added fuel to bacteria. This newly formed gas can also harden stools and lead to constipation.

Constipation just exacerbates the issue by not allowing stools or gas to move freely. This can cause abdominal pain including stomach or colon spasms. These stools can become hard enough to cause tissue in the rectum to be scratched or torn during elimination which can result in hemorrhoids or bloody stools.


Some researchers believe individuals that have had gastroenteritis or some type of intestinal infection are more prone to irritable bowel symptoms in the future. These particular conditions can take months and sometimes years before they're finally subdued.

Each individual case is different, but some researchers suggest that these symptoms are brought to the surface again by stressful events, prolonged fever, depression and extreme anxiety. This is also referred to as post–infectious irritable bowel syndrome.


Many experts believe that fibromyalgia and its related symptoms is

caused by a nervous system dysfunction. Research has suggested that since digestive system functions are controlled by the brain, a nervous system dysfunction can cause severe disruptions in this process which leads to many irritable bowel symptoms including constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea and a spastic colon. Stress and anxiety can also add further fuel to these disruptions.

What are my treatment options?

Common over the counter drugs are sometimes used to treat constipation and diarrhea. These include Metamucil, Citrucel, and Imodium. If irritable bowel symptoms remain severe and uncontrollable, other prescribed medications are recommended including Anticholinergics and Anti-depressants which can help control nervous system impulses and relieve bowel spasms and diarrhea.

If doctors suspect infection, antibiotics may also be prescribed to kill bacteria which can lead to severe or chronic diarrhea.

There are two other drugs on the market that help with chronic diarrhea and constipation but are known to cause severe side effects. Alosetron (Lotronex) is used to relax the colon and slow movement of waste through the lower bowel to help prevent diarrhea. It was removed from the market soon after its launch because of some serious side effects reported by users, but it was eventually reintroduced by the FDA with specific restrictions. It's only prescribed to women and only under extreme circumstances.

There's also Lubiprostone (Amitiza) which is used to treat severe constipation only when all other treatment options have failed. It helps secrete intestinal fluid to help loosen stools for elimination.

Some doctors will recommend a diet that eliminates gassy foods such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, beans, candy, and caffeine. Many including myself have also experienced phenomenal results when adhering to either a fit for life or hypoglycemic diet. These diets not only help regulate ones blood sugar and weight, but they can also give individuals a more natural approach that for many; can completely eliminate some or all fibromyalgia and irritable bowel symptoms.

In combination with key medications or supplements and a manual treatment or exercise

program, these resources have completely changed the game when it comes to tackling both conditions simultaneously. If you haven't tried these treatment options, you may be missing out on a life changing journey. I and other family members and friends have been completely transformed!

Warning: These symptoms can also be caused by other more serious issues, especially accompanied with fever. If you've had extensive testing done including blood tests, x-rays and digestive system examinations but are still experiencing stiff muscles, painful joints and irritable bowels symptoms; you may want to consider discussing these other treatment options with your doctor.

If you're currently taking other medications for irritable bowel symptoms or any other condition, it's important you share these with your doctor to prevent any dangerous combinations.

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