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Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Gluten Intolerance

Posted on November 6th, 2008 by Alison Read 226 Comments - Add Your Own »

fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue caused by gluten

The other day I was shopping in Whole Foods when a woman asked an employee where the wheat-free bread was. The employee had no idea so I offered to help. As I led the woman to the alternative bread section she told me that she didn’t feel well when she ate whole wheat, and tries to limit it by eating white bread or wheat-free breads like spelt. Then she told me that she has fibromyalgia.

I asked her if anyone suggested that her symptoms might be caused by gluten. No, she told me. She is on several different therapies, but no one ever said anything about gluten. She ended up passing on buying any gluten-free bread because it was too expensive. She is on disability. The whole situation saddened me, because it was clear that she was trying as best as she could given her financial situation and the information available to her.

We parted ways in the store after I showed her some more products and gave her some suggestions for eating gluten-free. I think she was too overwhelmed to accept any more of my help. We bumped into each other again in the bakery section, where she was searching for something to eat. I showed her the gluten-free options (all expensive) and she reached in a bin and grabbed a muffin. “You know that has wheat in it, right?” I thought maybe she was confused. “Well,” she said, “I have to eat something.” And so she will continue to eat the very thing that is making her sick, because she doesn’t really know any better and can’t afford to try a gluten-free diet.

After this encounter I wondered if a connection between fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and gluten intolerance was well-known. I found that although people in forums and in their own personal websites report how much better they feel after cutting gluten out their diet, some actually being diagnosed with celiac disease after years of suffering with these other diagnoses, the main websites for fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) make no reference to the possibility that gluten could be the cause. Instead they list about 20 different treatment options, with no mention of a gluten-free diet.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia, gathered from several websites including the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins include:

  • Body pain
  • Fatigue
  • Non-cardiac Chest Pain
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Constipation, diarrhea, frequent abdominal pain, abdominal gas, and nausea, acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Headaches
  • Rhinitis
  • Depression
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Numbness and Tingling Sensations (Peripheral Neuropathy)
  • Brain Fog (Poor Concentration)
  • Morning Stiffness
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Skin Problems
  • Joint Disorder
  • Urinary Problems
  • Widespread Pain
  • Dysmenorrhea
  • Nausea
  • Memory Loss
  • Vision Problems
  • Weight Gain
  • Dry eyes and mouth

Almost every one of these symptoms has been associated to celiac disease or gluten intolerance, yet none of these websites mentions that people should be tested for celiac or try a gluten-free diet. One website says that people with fibromyalgia are at a greater risk of developing a number of other disorders, such as:

  • Fertility problems
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Endometriosis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Anemia
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • GERD
  • Interstitial Cystitis
  • Yeast Infections
  • Bruxism
  • Low Cytokine Levels
  • Hypoglycemia

Again, almost every one of these conditions has been associated with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, another disorder with no known cause, report the following symptoms (according the CDC website):

  • cognitive dysfunction, including impaired memory or concentration
  • postexertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours (exhaustion and increased symptoms) following physical or mental exercise
  • unrefreshing sleep
  • joint pain (without redness or swelling)
  • persistent muscle pain
  • headaches of a new type or severity
  • tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • sore throat
  • irritable bowel, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or bloating
  • chills and night sweats
  • brain fog
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • chronic cough
  • visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain or dry eyes)
  • allergies or sensitivities to foods, alcohol, odors, chemicals, medications or noise
  • difficulty maintaining upright position (orthostatic instability, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, balance problems or fainting)
  • psychological problems (depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks)
  • jaw pain
  • weight loss or gain

Almost all of the above symptoms have been connected to gluten’s effects on the body. Compare to the list of symptoms related to celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and it is astonishing. Also astonishing is the fact that people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue aren’t immediately tested for celiac and, EVEN IF THE TEST IS NEGATIVE, put on a gluten-free diet.

I know someone with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She told me that she had already tried the gluten-free diet. Except that she had wheat sometimes. And that several of her 20+ medications that she took every day contained gluten. She continues to live in pain and on drugs (she is 38 years old).

Tell me, anyone out there who suffers from Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome… Have you been tested for celiac? Have you tried a 100% gluten-free diet for an extended amount of time?

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  1. Yes yes and yes! You hit the nail on the head. I began suffering from chronic fatigue when I was 13, after 12 months of irritable bowl syndrome and 3 cases of chicken pox. Within 12 months I had poly arthritis (meaning arthritis in every joint in my body). Thank goodness that after visiting every doctor in my small town and the next, I finally found a doctor who had me tested for celiac (as my mum suffers from it) along with every other allergic known to man. I am now 28 and live on a gluten free, dairy free and soy free diet. It took me around 5 years to get myself “healthy” but I have energy, I manage my pain without medications, work a 50+ hours a week job and go to the gym for at least an hour every day and cook 3 meals a day for myself and my boyfriend. I can only say what a revelation it was to discover what diet really does to your health and well being!

  2. I am 38 and obese, and have suffered for YEARS from chronic fatigue, arthritis pain, depression, chronic migraines and insomnia. About 3 weeks ago I had an epiphany and changed the way I eat. I accidentally started eating mostly gluten free. I’ve always had a slight dairy intolerance so I never eat a lot of dairy, and always chose organic if I had a choice if I was going to eat/drink any dairy. Anyways, I just gave up processed sugars and breads etc. I started eating fresh veggies and fruits, significantly reduced my meat intake and only gluten free pasta. What I’ve noticed is that in the last 2 weeks I haven’t had a single migraine, the chronic fatigue is a thing of the past, my arthritis pain is significantly reduced, I’m not depressed and I’ve been able to get to sleep and sleep 7-8 hours every single night. This is working for me, I don’t know why or how..but it is. And the icing on the cake is that the pounds are dropping off me so fast I can’t keep up with it. I need to buy a whole new wardrobe!!

  3. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with hashimotos and pcod. After a few years I developed sensitivit to synthroid so my dr put me on levoxil (I’m no longer the wicked witch of the west since I came off it) in my mid 20’s I was diagnosed with ibd, pernicious anemia, b12 deficency and Von wilderbrands type a. Basically my doctor said I have no intrinsic factors. My iron was so low I had to have iron infusions and I was told it was a wonder I wasn’t in a casket or a coma. About the time I started going thru the infusions I started having muscle pain, worse than normal fatigue, muscle spasms so bad I thought my ankle was you g to break on more than one occasion and chronic insomnia ( 6 months of 4 hours a night if I was lucky) so I pretty much just sucked it up and felt with it. I had several friends with fibro tell me to get tested but I didn’t. My dad had fibro, parkensons, cluster miagraines, chron’s and a host of other problems, so when I started loosing my dexterity and balance and lost feeling in my fingers and started having random muscle twitches I finally went. My doctor ran a full pannel of bloodwork (6 vials worth) everything came back good except my vit d was low, so he diagnosed fibro and cfs. I have several food allergies in addition to lactose tolerant so I already avoid milk ( I can do cultured milk and cheese in moderation) and I can’t do red meat and I’m sugar free as well so it was the natural next step to go g/f. I’ve been doing it just over a week and between him changing my meds and increasing my b-12 injections (I do them daily now) I’m starting to feel a little better. The stomach problems are getting better but the muscle spasms and cramps aren’t. My sleep is getting a little better two. I’m averaging 6 hours a night now. I told my doctor if standing on my head and singing Yankee doodle dandy would help I’d try. I’m learning to live with limits, but I’ve always been on the go so it’s being hard for me.

  4. *Please excuse the typos in my post. I’m using my iPhone and it has a small keypad.

  5. Been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Raynauds and am now constantly constipated. The doctor I have stated to just eat a high fiber diet (alot more whole wheat)and lots of water. ( I guess 80 to 100 oz a day is not enough) Trying myself to change my diet.

  6. The thing that bothers me is how so many people are so resistant to such a simple possibility of relief! The fact is you don’t even have to buy gluten free anything.. in fact you can save money period, by cutting out bread and pasta without replacing it with gluten free alternatives. 6 years ago I was 200+ lbs, tired, depressed and just all over down and out. I knew nothing about celiacs.. I just weighed myself one day and said wow! I’m fat I have to lose weight. I cut out bread and pasta completely.. and I lost 70lbs+ In the past year my sister has been diagnosed with celiacs, and I myself am now being tested for it. Eating gluten free gives me relief from my sciatia, keeps my weight healthy and I feel a whole lot better.. even if my test comes back negative, I will continue to eat gluten free! Reading the book “Wheat Belly” just sealed the deal.. I highly recommend everyone read that book and then research everything in it.. You will see that the benefits of eating wheat free are for everyone.. and that continuing to eat wheat really has no benefit at all!

  7. “audra, on May 2nd, 2012, said:
    Been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Raynauds and am now constantly constipated. The doctor I have stated to just eat a high fiber diet (alot more whole wheat)and lots of water. ( I guess 80 to 100 oz a day is not enough) Trying myself to change my diet.”

    Audra, I read your comment and just had to comment on your comment.
    This was me exactly. No matter how much wheat fiber I ate, the more constipated I got. I have been diagonsed with Celiac almost 2 years ago and when I eliminated gluten from my diet, everything got better, especially the constipation. I do eat high fiber via vegetables and fruit and I take metamucil. Even my rash on my elbows went away.

  8. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for only a few months (8’ish). I had a colonoscopy because of several years of rectal bleeding that finally became more problematic than I was any-longer willing to deal with. They found a villous adenoma! Im only 37 years old!

    I have just been to see a GI specialist as follow up (it’s been a couple months since the polyp was removed) and she just sent off blood work to see if I have celiac. I’ve never heard of this disease… She never really asked me very many questions, so I’m woncering of the GI field is on it. 🙂 It sesmed like a standard screening.

    I don’t know if I have it yet. Will know in a few more days I guess. I do also have Hashimoto’s and that is autoimmune… I have heard about gluten-free diets and have been SO super negative! (don’t hate on me…) I eat/ate boiled wheat almost every morning! I bake my own fresh-ground whole wheat bread! I think I eat more wheat than everything else combined!

    Well. I’m going to give it a try. I know all the symptoms from my own life and I AM DONE. maybe it’s pricey to buy “alternatives” but perhaps I can just eat other carbohydrates like potatoes and corn? they are pretty cheap. Not bread, so sandwiches are out.

    I was married to a type 1 diabetic for 11 years, he had to adjust his food choices for his illness, and why can’t I? Thanks for the articel.


  9. Here’s a new one. I released the resentment and anger in my life which was inside of me and wasn’t going anywhere. It showed up as fibromyalgia. Once I gave myself permission, through the assistance of an amazing Reiki master, I released the emotions that were locked in my body. I juice twice a day and eat no wheat or dairy (Coconut milk is amazing)and I have zero health issues. I learned how to release those emotions through Reiki dialogue and Emotional Freedom Techniques. It’s not about what I was eating, but what was eating me.

  10. Hi there, i have been on a very long arduous journey with gluten, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, chronic intestinal issues, no conclusive evidence on anything except that my body is inflamed, constantly. Someone asked about genetics and i have recently found out about the MTHFR gene, and the effects of its mutations, which are widespread and can be a link, in addition to food as to why chronic conditions continue. To make it as simple as I understand it, MTHFR is a part of an enzyme process that affects methylation, which is our bodiy’s ability to detoxify and synthesize and use B vitamins. Two enormous issues adding to the food conundrum because if we cannot detoxify ourselves and we eat processed foods, have an immune response constsntly turned on, and a defunct digestive system it’s a world of hurt and confusion. MTHFR Is linked to autism, midline defects, anxuety, add, thyroid conditions, raynauds and the list goes on. Not the cause but a link, a very important link…..worth looking into if you feel like you’re running into walls. Food is medicine, it is wellness, it’s just hard teaching that in a world where the quick fix or the cheapest fix is the easiest. But it’s hard and takes time but if you can be patient with yourself and learn about the foods you put into your body, you will feel better. Guaranteed. You can’t fuel a jet engine with cooking oil, same with humans. If nothing else makes sense, the easy rule is if it comes in a package, meaning it’s been processed, don’t eat it. Bulk bins of quinoa, rice, farmers markets sometimes are great deals. Anyway, if you want to learn more about MTHFR, the guy who i have fou d to be the expert, and i have done a lot of painful research is Dr Ben Lynch….google him, it’s worth it. It’s confusing but he’s super smart and dedicated to wellness.

  11. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 15. It ruined my life. I had to drop out of school. I thought I would be suffering with it forever. Then my friend told me that fibromyalgia pain could be caused by gluten. I didn’t really believe her, but I figured it was worth a shot. Especially since I had tried everything to fix the pain, including pharmaceuticals that ended up ruining my life even more. I immediately felt a difference the first week of being gluten free. The pain is gone and I can actually walk and go places again. The only time I get flare ups is when I accidentally eat something with gluten in it. It’s good to know I’m not alone and that other people have benefited from a gluten free diet too.

  12. I feel like I have read the entire internet searching.

    I have suffered with an unexplained abdominal pain, unexplained anaemia, brain fog, dizziness, anxiety, light headedness, bloating and excess gas and poor skin for over two years now! I have had scans, been diagnosed with IBS. I have taken iron tablets for the last 3 years which just made the tummy pain worse and didn’t cure the fatigue. I have also almost choked in my sleep on night after re-flux thankfully woke me up.

    Only last week after complaining to my gp for years about this abdo pain am I being screened for celiac? Awaiting blood results? I am 41 and fed up with feeling constantly tired, dull aching pain in same spot and spotty face!

    My doctor is convinced I have IBS but I am not convinced? I also found out that IBS and hypothyroid (which I also have) are prone to celiac?

  13. Wow. I have read everyone’s comments and although i feel sad for people in pain..i also feel excited. I am 34 and had severe body pain, numbness, burning feet, tremors in fall of 2011. shortly after this…about 4 weeks…i went to my doctor and got a plethora of tests done and she said it was because i was depressed and had anxiety. (i definitely was moody but i would say i was not in a deep depression). she put me on an SSRI called Cipralex 10mg (lexapro) and within 3 days my pain was easing off. It was a ‘miracle’. One year has past and throughout the time i did had sensitivity when working with my handd or being touch (if my kids would hug me hard or jump on me)…i also noticed that my hair was falling out too much! I think this was because of the medicine. I am now on 2.5mg of meds and my pain is creeping up on me. i do not want to be in pain or bald so i just took a HemoCode food intolerance test. I am hoping that i can help myself as i have a strong suspicion it is food. I will update in the weeks ahead. i wish all of you luck!

  14. Hi, I am 47 and until 3 months go was perfectly healthy. Late August, my legs repeatedly went numb, the pads above my knees swelled, and I was in so much pain that my legs felt as if they’d been filled with wet sand and broken glass. Was referred to a rheumatologist…no arthritis. My doctor suggested fibromyalgia. So I did a bit of Internet research. Apparently there’s a strong link between this an gluten. My son is coeliac…and as it is genetic, I thought I’d try eliminating gluten too. I am on my second week of. Gluten free diet, and I really notice the difference…. already! This time 3 months ago I thought I’d end up in a wheel chair. My grandfather died from stomach cancer in the 60’s…perhaps he was also coeliac and nobody ever knew! I wish doctors would start making links in family genetics before they tell patients this or that…

  15. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2004. I first realized the link between what I’ve been eating and my fibro flares last December. I’m a teacher and we have so many sweets before the holidays. After a week of eating rich desserts and goodies, I have a major flare that put me on the couch for several days. I thought it was the sugar. It happened again the last week of school with graduation/retirement parties. I flared and more or less struggled all last summer getting my symptoms under control. My husband bought the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis. We went wheat free in early September and even though I’m not totally strict, I feel so much better. I think the link is there and now I’m more determined than ever to stay gluten free!

  16. Lyme disease also mimics all of the symptoms listed for CFS, fibromyalgia, and food issues. It’s always a good idea to be tested for it as it’s a simple blood test, and treatable.

  17. I was diagnosed w/ Chronic Fatigue Symdrome & Hashimitos Thyroiditis. I went gluten and soy free a year ago. Both issues are now gone & I’m 100% healthy. xoxo

  18. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis in 1982, Chronic Fatigue in 1990, and Fibromyalgia in 1992. I was later diagnosed with arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, GERD, migraine headaches, eczema, seasonal allergies, etc. In an effort to lose weight I tried a low carb diet that required me to eliminate grains for Phase 1 of the diet. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I wasn’t expecting any health improvements, only weight loss, but after a couple of weeks I noticed my acid reflux was gone, I hadn’t had a headache in while, I had more energy, and my joints and muscles didn’t ache. I eventually discovered that it was the grains that were causing my symptoms, specifically wheat, corn, and oats. If I have anything with corn in it, my fibromyalgia, arthritis, eczema, and allergies come back. If I eat anything with wheat, I get a severe migraine headache and my fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and digestive problems come back. So if you have tried a gluten-free diet and you were still in pain, I would suggest you eliminate all grains. You can then add them back in one at a time to see if you react to them. Another thing that is imperative is to check all prescriptions and over-the-counter medications most of them have corn starch or pregelatinized starch (typically derived from corn) or gluten in them. For instance when my doctor changed my thyroid medication to Synthroid, I was in a lot of pain so I checked with my pharmacist and there was corn starch in the prescription. I also read food labels carefully since it seems like corn and wheat is in everything. I avoid maltodextrin, dextrose, carmel color, obviously high fructose corn syrup (a very common sweetener), wheat, gluten. Even baking powder has corn starch in it. Soy sauce, most seasoning mixes and soups have gluten. This sounds like a lot of trouble, but it is so worth it. It is so wonderful to be pain-free and have energy again. I can run down the stairs without pain, instead of grasping the railing and slowly easing my way down the steps. I can go shopping and do activities with my family. I no longer need my handicap parking. I no longer have to sleep in a chair since my severe acid reflux is gone. It’s so nice to thing clearly and my headaches are gone. Yes, it’s worth it!

  19. Don’t you love it when they try to make us think that are pain is just anxiety?

    The doctors don’t want us to find out what foods are causing us pain. They want us alive but not dead, just sick.
    I remember one doctor mocking me for modifying my diet. It was such a foreign concept to her. They think the only solution is to take more painkillers.

    I started on a gluten free diet 2 years ago and the idiot doctor back then dissuaded me from doing the Celiac test.
    BIG Mistake. I got a new doctor and we need to know if I have Celiac to explain my other problems but I was gluten free for 2 years now and the celiac blood tests don’t react.
    So if you think you have Celiac get a transglutaminase and a DGP blood test to confirm this.

    While I got relief going gluten free but then the pain came back. I kept a food diary but it was still getting pain relapses.
    At first I thought there was still some hidden gluten but with keeping a food diary I discovered other foods were causing pain. But it can be hard to tell sometimes so
    I just got a food intolerance test done and it turns out I’m highly sensitive to wheat but no Celiac. Some of the results corresponds to my food diary but some foods I never suspected came up on the intolerance test like cabbage and orange juice and others that were suspect foods like peanuts and sunflower seeds are ok according to the food intolerance blood test. Now that is weird!!!
    The problem with all this food intolerance diet is that I’m too embarrassed to socialize now and you can forget going to a restaurant.

  20. Addendum: I’ve been reading more comments above.
    If everyone were to cut out wheat, dairy and eggs, the pharmaceutical companies and doctors would all go out of business LOL! Good luck to everyone and keep empowering yourself and your healing by eating the right foods for you!

  21. Tamara,
    Thanks for noting the parallel symptoms of lymes to the things listed here. I know a few people with lymes and they are truly similar. I did get tested and don’t have lymes…

    I’d like to update that I’ve been adding a ton of greens to my diet and some fish oil (not in a pill, kind of hard to take at first, but better for stomach), and my bloodwork shows no antibodies and I’m now totally off thyroid replacement! My Dr. listened to my plan and we went slow so as not to shock my body either.

    I’ve gone grain free and will add rice back in soon. I don’t actually miss the grain. I will test one grain at a time – maybe this summer, but I want to give my body some time to heal…

    Just a shout out to everyone, we so don’t have to live with this chronic pain.

  22. Hi there, so sorry for that lady. Helping nature is very good and you have that. I personally did not know the connection between these three. By reading this story I really shocked and tear came out of my eye. I hope nobody suffer from these kind of disease.

  23. I tell you my little story, about 15 years ago after a visit to the dentist I’ve got fibromylagia and tmj. Most of the symptoms you listed I actually had and had chemical sensitivity and had to live a gluten free diet. I had digestive problems and 2 years ago I almost did not survive than my heard start’s giving out and I ended up with an acute chronic pancreatis.

    What I found out after educating myself and finding the rootcause of my problem is. any chronic condition has to come from somewhere..
    16 month ago I start drinking 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar ( only use Bragg)in an 8 oz glass of water 3 times a day before 4 pm. You have to balance your ph level. The problem is everyone has different issues. My fribromylagia went away.
    A common cause for the items you listed it’s low in stomach acid which trigger all the problems you listed. You can find many information online to use make an hcl test what you can purchase in any health food store and see if this might be the cause. My cause was from to much antiobotic and I start having systemic candida which led to many autoimmune diseases. What works for me might don’t works for the next person. Where I gained lots of knowlegde is on the largest alternative site earthclinic. What I found is you really need to educate yourself and find the rootcause and your symptoms go away. Unfortunatly doctors do not know and prefer that’s you pop a pill. to cover up your symptoms. It could also be a combination from heavy metal, mold etc. I am no more gluten intolerant and most of my issues went away. Systemic candida it’s not an easy task to get rid of but I am almost there.

  24. Hello,
    I don’t have a disease that caused my gluten removal, but a new baby who would scream all day if I ate it. I feel so much better and my baby (now 7.5 months) is still nursing, developing and growing!

    I don’t buy all the Wheat replacement products. They are very expensive and are almost or equal the the extremely high glycemic index of wheat. It took some time, I’ve learned to make real food (which we were already eating) without the need of gluten products.

  25. Gorgonzola Dolce – Gorgonzola Dolce is a creamy and tangy blue
    cheese from Italy’s Lombardy region. But chocolate candy bars high in chemicals, wax and sugar are not beneficial at all. Your kids can cut and roll up little pieces of the ham and add to the platter.

  26. I was diagnosed with IBS when I was 12. I was sent to the dietitian who figured out that I was intolerant to lactose, fructose, galactans and fructans (fructans and gluten normally occur together in the same foods). But the dietitian never suggested gluten intolerance since she went with the Doctor’s diagnosis of IBS. My health gradually deteriorated over the next four years as I was told that I could gradually reintroduce the “bad” foods back onto my diet without any further symptoms. So I did this (my gastrointestinal symptoms certainly seemed to clear up for the most part, except in relation to lactose) – and ended up with fibromyalgia instead! I lived with full-blown FMS for 2 years and after a while I discovered on the Internet that gluten intolerance and FMS and IBS are often related. So I went back on my IBS diet, as well as cutting out the one or two extra grains that contain gluten but not fructans (in fact, I cut out all grains since I also have hypoglycaemia). My FMS symptoms have diminished greatly from following this diet – that is, everything except for the pain. I won’t bother listing all my FMS symptoms here, but i pretty much got all of the symptoms possible for FMS, so much so that i missed a lot of school and was bedridden for an entire year. The reason I still experience the pain is because chronic pain pathways have been built into my body over the time in which gluten WAS causing me pain. That’s okay though, because there is a brand new therapy (which I’m getting – I can afford it because I took out extras private health insurance in order to pay for all my healthcare treatments) called Trigger Point Therapy. Both physiotherapists and occupational therapists can administer this therapy, but I found the Occupational Therapy version of it MUCH more relevant and helpful to someone with fibromyalgia (because Occupational Therapists treat the patient holistically). My advice is: follow the GAPS or the leaky gut cure diets AND gluten-free diet AND specific carbohydrate diet (if you suffer from hypoglycaemia) AND get trigger point therapy from an Occupational Therapist who specialises in neuromuscular techniques. Physiotherapists are good if there are any structural problems underlying your pain (I have slight scoliosis and flat feet which put my whole body out of whack – physiotherapy was of tremendous help with these problems). SIBO diagnosis and treatment is another possibility to consider; I am considering it myself right now, but it is expensive and as I don’t have a job…

    By the way, it’s not that expensive to go gluten-free! I go to the nearest farmers market, and there is lots of cheap fruit, veges and meat there. I use nuts instead of grains, but not more than a handful’s worth of nuts per day because too many nuts isn’t good for you. I made a really nice pumpkin pie with almond crust the other day (thanks for the easy and fabulous recipes I can prepare and eat while on this diet goes to the 4 Ingredients book and the Wellness Mama website).

    Note: organic! No sugar! Very important to your health! I have gone organic and sugar-free as well – it makes me feel so alive! Think organic is too expensive? Think again: enviro care earth makes a Fruit and Vege Wash that washes away harmful chemicals from produce before you eat them. If you’re buying your produce from your local farmers market, then you can afford to buy organic pantry items (e.g. cocoa powder, sea salt, almond meal, apple cider vinegar) and organic meat. For me, it ends up costing around the same price as if I went to the normal supermarkets to buy all my groceries (when I’m not on a diet that is – it would be majorly expensive to follow this diet and buy all the food from Coles!)

    Also note that toxins should be avoided elsewhere too – use organic skincare, housecleaning products, clothing and linen. Once again, this doesn’t have to be as expensive as it sounds. Look up homemade skincare and housecleaning products on the Internet. As far as clothing and linen goes… I haven’t actually done this yet but I’m planning to when I get rich!

    Also, if you’re getting panic attacks, do a food diary (it’s a good idea to do that in any case, actually); your symptoms may in fact be a hypoglycaemic reaction to eating the wrong foods for someone with hypoglycaemia! The doc thought I was having panic attacks but turned out that avoiding certain carbs fixed the problem.

    •holistic nutritionist (GAPS/leaky gut diet and healing the gut)
    •occupational therapist (gradually decrease chronic pain and sensitivity to touch)
    •physiotherapist (treat any structural body problems; the Physiotherapist can pick up on probs that your doc has recognised, so it’s worth going at least once to get checked out – that’s what happened with my flat feet).
    •go organic as much as your budget allows – starting with your diet
    •see your doctor… But doctors can be wrong or miss part of the puzzle. Consult other sources of information too or you will probably be sick for many years to come. Sometimes it’s good to “just do what the doctor tells you” and sometimes it isn’t. You need to weigh up the facts and make informed decisions about your healthcare, because the doctor will never know your body quite as well as you do.

    Hope this info helps someone like it has helped me 🙂

  27. I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. My health was so bad that I was completely disabled for 5 years. I couldn’t take care of my young children or manage my home. I went from being a people person to dreading being around others because my headaches were so horrible that any noise would send me to my knees in pain. I was constantly sick and every few days catching a new virus that was going around. I could not walk across the room unassisted because my balance was so bad. The weather changes made me a prisoner in my home especially when the storm clouds and heavy rains would come in. These were just the more pressing symptoms.
    I have made many changes in my life and now my flare ups are mild and still manageable. Here is what’s helped me:

    * I do not eat gluten it flairs up the Chronic Fatigue so that I can’t function.
    * No food that have hormones such as chicken or milk (I buy organic or from Publix grocery store)
    * No nightshade veggies such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, hot peppers.
    * No overly processed foods such as frozen, prepared foods, fast foods, food ingredients with lots of additives. Just looking at the label you will know, if it has more than 5 ingredients (or you don’t know what most of the ingredients are and they seem to be written in another language)you shouldn’t eat it.
    I was a new person after staying away from my ‘do not eat’ list. Now when the weather turns I only have mild symptoms instead of severe.
    If you suffer from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue it is very important to take your vitamins! If you don’t like supplements then you can eat foods high in vitamins your body needs. Here’s a lists of vitamins I take daily:
    * B complex ( this really helped my energy levels)
    * Omega 3 oils
    * Multivitamins (look for vitamins that have the highest percentage of each vitamin)
    * Vitamins K, C
    When taking these vitamins above your body will take what it needs and dump the rest.
    With Chronic Fatigue your body is so depleted from vitamins it desperately needs. Taking these vitamins daily fixed my Chronic Fatigue.
    Learning to cope with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue require a complete life style change. It has been a lot of work to find the information I needed. I have to constantly be on my toes about my health, but it’s worth it because now I can have a life and take care of my family that needs me.
    Hope this helps someone.

  28. After years of suffering from bowel and body pains, I began a gluten-free diet. I am amazed at the difference in how I feel. The exception to the above is that I now suffer from constipation rather than diarrhea!

    I would like to know how someone gets tested for gluten intolerance or celiac disease. I’m gathering facts first before finding a new Gastroenterologist to help me. Also, does anyone have a good resource for gluten-free foods?

    Thanks in advance. I’m happy, angry, and amazed that, after all these years of suffering, I may have found my own cure by eliminating gluten from my diet!

  29. Update: I had the Celiac blood tests several times
    and I got the Celiac biopsy test: no celiac.
    But… the doctor says I have Crohn’s disease.
    So if you test negative for Celiac, do get tested for Crohn’s disease.

  30. I forgot to say: Crohn’s disease causes joint pain in some people.

  31. I had fibromyalgia for 8 years! Typical symptoms with so much pain. My Dr. Suggested testing for a Vitamin D3 deficiency! Sure enough it was at 17! Very low! I started on Vitamin D3 three times per day & in 3 weeks the pain disappeared ! A miracle ! Soon I found out that I halos had Celiac Sprue & was deficient in B12 magnesium, calcium, and have been on the gluten free diet! I also have very bad fingernails! They don’t grow. Thin. Lift from nail plate & are soft & extremely thin! Like onion skin ! Also I can’t seem to eat sugar, honey or almonds!
    Does anyone else have any of these issues ⁉️

  32. I thank you for this post and all of the people who have responded to it.

    I began to be gluten sensitive after a minor car accident of which my head hit the back of my headrest. This incident affected my pituitary/hypothalamus. Not to mention I went from very healthy to chronic pain and fatigue. That was many years ago, now after a 2nd car accident my gluten sensitivity is worse (I can’t even enjoy the gluten free prepared foods at the store that I have to prepare all of my own foods or stay strictly vegetarian when eating out and all of the sudden I became sensitive to even more things/foods. Some drs say I have fibromylagia, but drs don’t like to give that diagnosis as it makes it hard for you to find another dr because most drs don’t or will refuse to treat those with fibromyalgia.

    I think its possible that gluten isn’t and is the cause of fibromylagia in certain circumstances. In my case, the accident was the cause to my brain totally flipping a switch on how it chose to operate. This might be a combination of things like the head injury itself or the spinal issues after the accident. However, I know that gluten can make issues worse and the accident was the cause of my gluten sensitivity. So I think its impossible to determine in each case what came first, the chicken or the egg unless you have a good note of the person’s medical history.

  33. I had not heard of this, but it is definitely something to consider. So little is actually known about disorders like fibromyalgia that it is great to have as much information that you can so you can discuss all the options with your doctor.
    I do know that irritable bowel syndrome and gluten intolerance have similar symptoms. While I’m sure that sufferers if IBS would benefit from a gluten free diet, most find significant relief from eliminating foods that are difficult to digest, like complex grains. When the woman said white bread didn’t make her feel as bad I immediately thought IBS. IBS often accompanies other problems like fibromyalgia or anxiety disorders.

  34. I’m not going to write a long dissertation, just a simple “yes” going gluten free (Paleo)has begun to eliminate my symptoms. I feel a little better each day.
    I am pleading with all of you sufferers…get off the man made garbage, mainly wheat, gluten products and eat as clean as possible! You WILL feel better!

  35. Going gluten-free has eliminated many of my symptons (migraines, chronic fatigue, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.). Going corn-free has eliminated my fibromyalgia, arthritis, eczema, and allergies. Even the smallest amounts affect me. My doctor switched my thyroid medication to synthroid and I was in a lot of pain. I checked with the pharmacist and the prescription had corn starch in it. I switched to Nature-Throid and I felt fine. If I get even the slightest amount of gluten such as from cross-contamination, I get a severe headache, fatigue, nausea, and I become very emotional. The first day is the worst, but the symptoms usually last for seven days.

  36. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia & chronic fatigue and have been gluten free for nearly a year now. I have been tested for celiac but the test was negative I have seen results in my digestive issues going gluten free & improvement with my fibromyalgia but non with my chronic fatigue. Any suggestions? I do know that I have a dairy & soy intolerance so I try & avoid those also.

  37. It all started one night when I was having a couple of drinks with my friends last year, we were celebrating because I had finished placement. I decided to go for a shower, so I was having my shower and I got the most incredible pain in my hip and then round to my stomach and then my back shooting up my side into my neck. I thought I was having a stroke I collapsed on the ground got short of breath and had chest pain, I couldn’t move my legs. So as much as it hurt I dragged myself to my friends room (I live on campus so we have communal showers) I ended up being taken to the hospital by one of my friends and the doctor ran tests and suspected that I had stones in my gallbladder. I didn’t, I was tested for everything you could imagine even blood clots. They finally sent me for a CT scan and discovered I have a 6cm cyst between my uterus and bladder, the next monday I was due to have an ultrasound to look at it, but on the sunday night it burst, I have never felt so ill in my life, I curled up in the foetal position for 6 hours until the pain subsided. Of course the next day there was no cyst so they weren’t worried at all. I had, had enough I gave up and progressively got worse. It wasn’t until I got so angry at the doctors because it was ruining my life. I was told I was depressed it was all in my head, but it wasn’t because if they could feel the damn pain maybe they would understand. I had many ‘attacks’ as I would call them. My friends seem to think I put them on they don’t understand at all and why would they it doesn’t happen to them. I ended up being referred to gastroenterologist and he did an endoscopy and colonoscopy on me. From that I found out I have quite bad reflux and a severe malt deficiency aka a malt intolerance. WHAT THE HELL IS A MALT INTOLERANCE? I was sent to dietician and she said that in her 50 years of being a dietician she has only had two people with malt intolerances, me and a 30 year old man.

    I am sorry for the life story but I honestly can’t deal with it anymore, the internet is useless, no one can tell me what malt is. Along with that I have discovered by myself that I seem to be Wheat intolerant, gluten intolerant, dairy intolerant, lactose intolerant and malt (which apparently is a sugar) So yes sugar makes me sick.

    If anyone could give any advice I would be extremely grateful, thanks in advance.

  38. i have been diagnosed with fyrbomyaligia !! and have an inkling its gluten related

    kill gluten !! kill kill

    i am sore sore sore 😉

  39. Lance,
    Stop eating gluten (100%!) and see how you feel.

  40. I have been reading a book describing mold allergies, and mold in your body, can produce all of these symptoms … brain fog, fatigue, intestinal issues, joint pain, etc, etc. that are described in the symptoms for Fibro, CFS, Celiac, IBS, RA, and others. People living and/or visiting in the same house would be exposed to the same mold … familial not hereditary ?!?! The diet used to starve the fungi (mold) is very similar to the gluten free diet, and would make one feel better, I just need to know if this mold issue is bigger than we know … peanut allergies were rare, 50 years ago … peanuts are stored in areas that have mold. European countries will not accept grain (stored in silos) from the USA, if it has a certain number of mycotoxins (mold) in it, but it can be sold to us !!! Trying to find an answer for a relative, has helped me explore all of this and would love an answer!!!

  41. Hi just stumbled up on this…..I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia earlier this year my neurologist told me he wanted to run a few more tests, my gluten test came back off the charts and I was sent off for a biopsy and diagnosed with celaic disease, I had no idea I had it, I had been so ill for years with no diagnosis.
    I have been on a gluten free diet now for 7 months, I cannot believe how much better I feel!
    I recently had a gluten contamination and became instantly sick, it definitely caused my fibro flare ups to be much more severe.
    I honestly believe the gluten was causing the fibro to get outta control.
    I still suffer with the fibro but not nearly as bad as I was while I was still eating gluten. I’m very thankful my doctor had the sense to have me tested

  42. This is a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. You needlessly harrassed that woman, when someone with Fibromyalgia is already miserable and tired just trying to get any shopping done at all!

    Yes, it is absolutely true that gluten sensitivities are found to produce Fibromyalgia-like symptoms in people. So is stress, organ failure(s), yeast overgrowth, carbon monoxide poisoning, lupus and any other sensitivity (up to allergy) of any other food – including, possibly, brrocoli, cabbage, cauliflower and soy causing your thyroid to act up.

    In my case, I went two weeks wheat free and I felt better. I lost weight. Then, I started eating wheat again and I found it caused serious cravings for more food, but, I didn’t gain weight and I didn’t get ill. However, I did eat more candy and crap, so I am going to go back to being wheat free.

    Oh, and, by the way, some of why people have seeming wheat issues are that the farmer’s triple spray the wheat with Round Up as a means of harvesting maximum yield. So, for some people, it’s the pesticides, not the gluten, that is at issue. Toxins can cause Fibromyalgia too. So, that could be why eating whole wheat bread makes her feel worse than white bread where it is more processed in a way that actually removes some of the toxins in the wheat, or, by eating non-wheat bread.

    Back to in my case: I have peripheral neuropathy, as they call it, quite bad. I used to be so miserable that I could barely move due to muscle cramps, abdominal cramping, and, all sorts of horrific symptoms.

    I took turmeric and it helped immensely. Turmeric heals the gut and is an anti-inflammatory and also helps balance the gut bacteria. Before that, I followed the yeast overgrowth diet, as I could, by Dr. Crook and was doing pretty well for quite some time, until I started following the advice of health professionals to eat more cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and to drink soy milk. That’s what really did me in, all over again.

    So did stress. So did dairy, which it turns out is even in most non-dairy products, including nut cheeses, and, in some brandss of canned tuna! I am allergic to whey and casein, to the point where even clarified butter and Greek Yogurt can make me horribly ill.

    That makes my guts swell up. That’s when I get the numbness and tingling in my arms, legs, hands, feet, abdomen, upper back, etc. If my gut doesn’t swell up, I don’t get it.

    Wheat doesn’t make my gut swell up, unless it is combined with other things that I am allergic to or that are killing so much bad bacteria that I end up very gassy from that. Milk and everything related to it makes my intestines inflamed and me very gassy, so that I get quite ill and writhe in pain and my body goes numb and pain-filled.

    Now, let’s shorten that all down, to this: Not everyone who has the symptoms of Fibromyalgia has them for the same reason and you should not assume you know what is happening to a stranger whom has barely spoken to you. You know what you suspect, but, that’s all you know. Leave the poor dears alone, after you have asked the first question- that was good, to put it in her head as a possibility. That’s as far as you should have gone, unless she asked you for more.

  43. I keep getting the replies sent to me. (lol) It’s great! To see so many people talking about fibromyalgia! Back in the day people acted like you were a crazy-attention seeking-drug craving loser… I’m so proud of all of us for our search for help! To the last poster, you sure sound like a neat person! Glad you posted your story. 🙂 The more we talk about it, the better able to live with our diagnosis. That’s the first step. Accepting the reality of it all. I thought I’d update that my internist recently counseled I go fully grain-free! What??? But you know, I hadn’t done it until this time around. I went into remission with s pregnancy and BAM! this is the worst it’s been ever. So here I am, grain free and no nightshades. I also added 3mg of melatonin every night. Such a difference!!!! I’m proud of all of you. One thing I’ve learned in the past 20 years is that we each are unique, I’m now convinced that it’s more than gluten for my body. I had done that for several months to no benefit for me. But I know several other sufferers who only go gluten free. I’d been tested for celiac (because of compounding GI issues) and I do not have it. Some will! The other thing I am certain about with fibro, is that its a secondary condition with many triggers. If you think you’ve only got fibro, just wait. You’ll see what I mean. Good luck you us all! 😊

  44. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a few years ago, and have been chronically ill for three years. I have developed quite a few allergies to medications and several food intolerance issues (i.e. milk, gluten, eggs, corn). Exposure to any of these foods causes a widespread response; swelling in all extremities,abdomine,face, and breasts, as well as extreme fatigue, flu like symptoms, low grade fever, a laundry list of GILBERT problems, and migraine. Also recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, endometriosis, insulin resistance, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I more or less live on an elimination diet. Recently I have noticed some new symptoms. My skin is peeling off in patches on my hands and face. My nails also peel. I have been more susceptible to infection and have had a recurring problem with vitamin deficiency. My rheumatologist refuses to even consider medication due to my allergies. My pain is debilitating and when combined with the other symptoms prevents me from working or performing everyday activities. Depression can be a problem, but I am trying to remain optimistic. Like one of the previous comments mentioned, I also have high amounts of unexplained inflammation in my blood. I am beyond frustrated. My doctors haven’t been all that helpful, and I am tired of all of the seemingly pointless trips to appointments and the emergency room. What, if anything, can make this liveable?

  45. Up until about a year ago I thought that everybody felt the way I did, that it was ‘normal’.

    Talking to people as I’ve grown older made me realise that something was up..

    I got tested a few years ago for celiac, as my mother was diagnosed with it. The results came back negative.

    A lot of of the symptoms I have experienced I have felt for years. They seem to reflect some form of malnutrition or some form of long term deficiency. Every test I go to, it comes back negative. There is definite discomfort in my entire being.

    I had a pretty full on problem with my stomach a few years back and I ended up in hospital for 9 weeks after feeling a very sharp pain straight through my stomach to my back.
    Its the most intense pain that I have felt, even over a shattered femur. It turns out that my stomach lining had collapse, after eating itself away. They classed this as ‘acute gasteritus’ (apologies on any misspellings!). There have been a few occasions that this has reared its ugly head.

    A friend of mine mentioned fibromyalgia, as her aunt was diagnosed. She recognised the symptoms. I didn’t even know what it was, I hadn’t have even heard of it until they picked up on it. So, I started checking out what it was all about.

    I have not been diagnosed as of yet, it has all been put on hold currently due to other health related issues.

    I seem to match on both the chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia lists 90-99% but only a couple on the celiac list.

    I hope my account helps in some way!

  46. JM,
    If your mother was diagnosed with celiac and you have any health problems, I hope that you will go on a gluten-free diet no matter what your celiac test results were!

  47. I have been suffering from fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and allergies and breathing problems. About nine months ago I read about a study concerning how a vegan diet helped some people with fibromyalgia feel better, and in researching the vegan diet came across Dr. John McDougall’s website. He had a little video clip about fibromyalgia in which he recommended going vegan and eliminating wheat and soy. I just decided to go vegan at that point, I didn’t want to face giving up my bread, etc. After three months into the vegan diet I was losing weight, which was great, but the psoriasis and fibro pain were the same. I then decided to reduce my wheat intake from about four servings a day to one serving per day. I was amazed that my psoriasis (which they say there is no cure for) is now about 98% gone. I had patches on my feet, ankles, knees and elbows, and my skin is almost all clear. Since it’s apparent to me that I am definitely gluten intolerant, I am now going completely gluten free to see if it helps with the fibro and the breathing problems. I am finding my dietary restrictions to be challenging, but nevertheless I want to do whatever it takes to feel better!

  48. Just a note. I have Fibromyalgia and I am fighting it holistically. Please be careful to not down play it or soften its effects on people. I research everything and find shine symptoms of other disorders. Overall it is quite defeating giving people advice on other disorders that our weigh the effects of what we suffer with on a daily basis. Just a little caution please on rebutting a diagnosis.. Fibromyalgia is a complex and attacks many of our body parts and organs. It’s hard enough making others realise to us it is real.

  49. I have celiacs, hashimotos, fibromyalgia, IBS, MTHFR, chemical sensitivity and chronic fatigue. I found removing foods that make me sick helped all my symptoms. I am gluten, dairy, soy, and processed foods free. I don’t tolerate chilis, broccoli, legumes, and avocados. I currently am staying away from nightshades-potatoes,tomatoes ect. It does help me a lot and I am feeling better. I might be able to eat them again if my problem is leaky gut. Heal the gut and you can start reintroducing foods. I can never eat gluten, dairy or soy due to Celiacs. MTHFR is a genetic issue that can make you very sick because your cells don’t release toxins and don’t work. MTHFR I take the special B vitamins like methylfolate. I like Methylguard all in one special vitamins makes me feel good. My hashimotos in remission, no more high BP, diabetes and IBS is mostly gone. Diet is everything !!

  50. I would highly recommend a liver cleanse to help the body expel toxins that cause allergic reaction, autoimmune responses, etc. I believe the gluten intolerance and allergic reaction can be greatly reduced through a series of liver cleanses that expel gallstones and then allows the liver to do it job properly. You will see a host of issues disappear. I’d commit to at least 6 cleanse that are cheap, don’t interrupt your work schedule, and don’t require lots of hoops to jump through. Please get “The Liver and Gallbladder Miracle Cleanse” book. it will be the best $15 you ever spent. Your body will thank you. No I’m not the author nor do I benefit from the sale of the book. I’m just an overly satisfied customer.

  51. I’m a health practitioner who specializes in food sensitivity reactions, and the whole list of symptoms mentioned can indicate a negative reaction to ANY food, not just gluten. I suggest MRT testing to find out which foods are causing an immune reaction, as only removing a few foods will often not bring the results you are looking for. This is because when other foods your immune system responds to remain in the diet (think certain meats, veg, fruits that you would never suspect) inflammation continues and the intestinal tract doesn’t heal. It’s the chemical mediators released by the immune cells that cause all these symptoms, so until you remove all the triggers, you don’t really heal. I created a free webinar about it for anyone who might be interested:

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