Written By: Alexandra Waller
In order to understand the connection between fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease, it is important to first examine each separately. If you are experiencing severe symptoms or problems, speak with your health care provider. It is always best to talk to your doctor for professional and trusted advice and treatment. This article is meant to help inform you about the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fibromyalgia has affected approximately four million United States adults, which is about two percent of the population. It is a chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue. There are several symptoms of fibromyalgia and is more common among women.
SYMPTOMS OF FIBROMYALGIA MAY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- pain and stiffness throughout the body
- depression and anxiety
- headaches or migraines
- trouble with thinking and memory, as well as finding difficulty concentrating
- fatigue and tiredness, including sleep problems
- digestive problems
If you have experienced similar symptoms to the ones listed above, make sure to discuss any questions you may have with a doctor if you are concerned. The list above is a general account of symptoms of fibromyalgia.
WHAT IS CROHN’S DISEASE?
So, what is Crohn’s disease? Crohn’s disease is currently known to affect more than 500,000 people in the United States, including people who are between the ages of fifteen and thirty-five. It is a disease that causes severe inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, and it is also part of a group of diseases called the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, or IBD’s. Although the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed and is unable to function properly, Crohn’s usually affects a certain area, not the entire gastrointestinal system. Usually, Crohn’s disease affects the small intestine and rarely impacts the large intestine.
SYMPTOMS OF CROHN’S DISEASE MAY INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
- frequent and recurring diarrhea
- rectal bleeding
- unexplained weight loss and reduced appetite
- cramps, including abdominal pain
Again, if you express any concerns regarding the symptoms listed above, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor. It is always best to seek the advice of your health care provider.
FIBROMYALGIA AND CROHN’S DISEASE: WHAT IS THE CONNECTION?
Actually, there is not an exact connection between fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease. Researchers have not been able to determine specifically what causes each of the disorders. Some researchers believe genetics may have a role in each condition. However, it is quite rare for someone who has fibromyalgia to experience Crohn’s disease.
Despite the lack of connection between the two, there are a few similarities between each disease. Both fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease are chronic diseases. Additionally, they share similar symptoms. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia may include the following: lower back pain, muscle pain, problems with the joints, and fatigue or a feeling of low energy.
As mentioned earlier, it is very uncommon for an individual with fibromyalgia to also have Crohn’s disease. However, those who have both fibromyalgia and Crohn’s may experience an intense pain associated with the gastrointestinal tract. The link between fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease is related to IBS or irritable bowel syndrome because of the extreme gastrointestinal side effects associated with the disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome is less serious than Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
Although fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease do not share a direct connection, each can undergo treatment in a similar fashion. There is no cure for either disease, but individuals can treat the disorders to help ease symptoms. Treatment consists of self-care, therapy, and certain medications. A way to manage and treat symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and Crohn’s is a drug called, low-dose Naltrexone (LDN). LDN is an opioid antagonist, so it temporarily blocks opioid receptors throughout the body. The drug boosts the body’s immune system, which allows the body to better respond to pain remedies. There have been cases where patients have shown significant improvement by using the low-dose Naltrexone.
Overall, there is not a direct connection between the two. However, by examining each disease researchers may gain more information on the causes of and treatment for each. It is difficult and stressful to live with fibromyalgia or Crohn’s disease. Those individuals who possibly suffer from both fibromyalgia and Crohn’s may endure more stress and pain. If you have more questions concerning fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease, it is important to speak with your health care provider. In order to gain more information, look for a professional’s opinion and contact a doctor who you trust.