How to Manage Fibromyalgia-Related Digestive Problems

How to Manage Fibromyalgia-Related Digestive Problems

You’ve been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a central nervous system disorder. You’re plagued by chronic joint pain and fatigue. Added to that, you have disturbing digestive symptoms that may be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a gastrointestinal disorder; you likely have cramping and pain in the belly which may be accompanied by alternating constipation and diarrhea. 

Our expert staff with Apollo Pain Management provides relief for fibromyalgia patients who also have IBS at our offices in Sun City Center and Bradenton, Florida. Fibromyalgia and IBS are two chronic conditions that are related, but scientists don’t yet know the root of the connection. More than half of patients with IBS also have fibromyalgia symptoms, and about two-thirds of patients with fibromyalgia have IBS symptoms. 

Both conditions share common symptoms. You’re more likely to have these conditions if you’re a woman. You have difficulty sleeping and extreme fatigue that interferes with accomplishing tasks in daily life. Both conditions are associated with long-term stress. Over 50 percent of fibromyalgia patients in one survey reported post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Some of the same medications can effectively treat both disorders. 

Managing fibromyalgia with IBS 

Your Apollo Pain Management board-certified physician and pain management specialist combines medical treatment with recommendations for managing your symptoms at home. 

Medical treatment 

Your doctor reviews your medical history and, based on your unique circumstances, may prescribe anti-seizure medications that help silence pain signals from your nerves to your brain. These drugs help reduce symptoms for many patients. 

Antidepressants are another mainstay of fibromyalgia treatment that presents along with IBS. Even if you’re not depressed, these drugs help ease sleep problems, control chronic pain, and lift your mood. 

Self-management of fibromyalgia with IBS

Have you ever investigated whether you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity? A test can help determine if this problem could be causing IBS symptoms. Avoiding foods with gluten is a solution if this is the root of your IBS symptoms. 

If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, your doctor may recommend starting a program of gentle exercise in which you graduate over time to a moderate exercise regimen. Exercise improves sleep patterns and produces endorphins that elevate mood. 

Your physician may recommend physical therapy to reduce muscle pain. Your therapist shows you techniques that you can add to your daily routine at home. 

Stress management is another key aspect to treatment of fibromyalgia with IBS. Cognitive behavioral therapy has proved to be helpful to patients; therapists work with you to help you develop and maintain techniques to manage stress. You may benefit from meditation and other stress-reduction techniques. 

Dee, diaphragmatic breathing exercises are helpful; they slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and increase your ability to relax, thus reducing your levels of cortisol, the hormone that activates in response to a threat. When your cortisol levels remain high as a result of long-term stress, that likely contributes to fibromyalgia and IBS. 

Call Apollo Pain Management or request an appointment online today if you suffer from fibromyalgia with digestive symptoms. We offer solutions to help improve your quality of life.

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