Anyone with Fibromyalgia and Gastroparesis?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Meg1710, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. Meg1710

    Meg1710 New Member

    Wondering what percentage of people who have FMS also have Gastroparesis (paralysed stomach). This may also be accompanied by other gastric motility problems, such as oesophageal dysmotility.
  2. Yes Meg I have both and gastroparesis is horrible . I thought fibro was bad enough but gastro is a nightmare. Nothing helps, does anything help you? Yahoo has a gastro msg board . Drs are of no help. I am considering trying digestive enzymes.
  3. wendysj

    wendysj New Member

    Hi Meg1710,

    I was tested for it (I have Type 1 Diabetes too.) and I was fine. They did, after some pushing from me, find that my gall bladder was chronicly infected. Once that was removed, I felt way better.

    Sorry I'm no help.

  4. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, meg1710.

    I'm sorry to hear about your gastric motility problems.

    I realize that you don't have a diagnosis of CFS, but perhaps this may still be of help to you.

    In CFS, there is a published paper from Australia documenting low gastric motility.

    It's a fact that normally, stomach acid mixes with the food in the stomach, and when the food moves on into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine), the acid triggers some cells lining the duodenum to secrete a hormone called secretin into the blood. Some of this is detected by the pancreas, and that signals the pancreas to excrete digestive juice, with sodium bicarbonate and digestive enzymes, into the duodenum to digest the food. The rate of emptying of the stomach is then controlled by the rate of the digestive process.

    If the stomach is low in acid production, which seems to be true in many cases of CFS at least (I suspect because of nutritional deficiencies), then this signal does not get sent. In CFS, people who get a comprehensive stool analysis run often find that the exretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes comes out low. I suspect that the reason for this is low stomach acid production, in most cases. In fact, I'm beginning to think that the drop in stomach acid may be the event that starts off the digestive system problems in many PWCs. Use of antibiotics without taking probiotics is probably a root cause in many others.

    You can do a home do-it-yourself test to see how your stomach acid level is doing. It works like this: On an empty stomach, such as first thing in the morning, drink a glass of water into which you have dissolved one-quarter teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). Time how long it takes you to burp. If you have adequate stomach acid, you will burp within two minutes. If you don't burp within two minutes, your stomach acid is low.

    For low stomach acid, some people take betaine-HCl, which is nonprescription, available from the internet or health food stores. Some people use dilute hydrochloric acid, which is available from Some people use lemon juice, but this should be done with a drinking straw and followed by flushing the teeth with water, because the citric acid can remove enamel from the teeth. Some people report benefit from apple cider vinegar, which is less acidic.

    Raising the stomach acid level also confers several other benefits, including killing bacteria and yeasts that come in with the food, activating pepsinogen to pepsin to begin protein digestion, and separating B12 and certain minerals from protein so that they can be absorbed later in the gut.

    As you may know, many conventional doctors prescribe proton pump inhibitors to shut down the production of stomach acid. In some cases, this can be a good idea, but in many others, it is just the opposite of what needs to be done. It is best to measure the stomach acid level first to see whether it is high or low, but this is seldom done.

    There are more sophisticated (and more expensive!) ways to measure the stomach acid level, including the Heidelberg capsule technique, strings that you swallow partially, and pull back out to measure the pH, or endoscopic sensors. But the "el cheapo" home method above will give you a pretty good idea of what your stomach acid status is.

    The method usually given to determine the best dosage of betaine-HCl is to take one pill with the first meal, then add one more for two with the second meal, until you feel a warm feeling in your stomach, and then drop back by one pill, and maintain that dosage with each meal.

    If you decide to do something to raise your stomach acid level, I recommend that you coordinate it with a physician, to make sure that it is appropriate for your case, and that you are not working at cross purposes with any other treatment you are doing. Some people have a very irritated stomach lining (gastritis), and others have Helicobacter pylori infection, and these must be dealt with. So working with a doctor is a must.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Best regards,


  5. Meg1710

    Meg1710 New Member

    Somehow my final response to your messages got spirited away into the ether, so I had to start all over again. Due to fatigue I don’t think my answer this time is near as clear as the last one – don’t you hate that?

    Thank you for your responses!

    To Rich, I was wondering if you could give me the reference to the article you mentioned or does that contravene the protocol of this board.

    I have come across several brief comments in various publications suggesting that oesophaegeal/gastric/intestinal dysmotilities are prevalent in FMS/CFS but have found a paucity of research which quantifies this. For this reason I wonder how much is anecdotal.

    Although you make a case for Hypochlorhydria and the diminished digestive enzyme cascade as causing a disturbance to digestion in CFS (and I have considered this from every angle also) Gastroparesis is generally believed to be caused by damage/severance to the Vagus Nerve or damage to the Cells of Cajal. This puts it into the neurological arena and is quite testable.

    The quantifiable test for oesophageal dysmotility is oesophageal Manometry, which measures peristaltic activity via amplitude testing in mmHg. Therefore Manometry elicits existing MOTOR disturbance. In this form, as a controlled test I cannot see how low or absent gastric acid or enzymes would influence the test outcomes.

    On the other hand the test for Gastroparesis, Gastric Emptying Scintigraphy measures gastric emptying in time and quantity following a radio isotope added meal. I can understand how there may be some influence by the presence or absence of gastric acids to the overall end result but how this variable is determined/eliminated I do not know. Perhaps the severity of the % of stomach non-emptying puts it back in the neurological camp.

    I know for myself having lived with Gastroparesis for one year now the consistency of symptoms remains high on an hourly and daily basis. Medication has helped reduce the nausea and pain somewhat. I find it hard to imagine that any symptoms arising from absent/low gastric juices would not ebb and flow to a much greater degree over this length of time than nerve damage would.

    My level of solid food gastric emptying is < 7 % over 2 hours and my liquid food emptying is almost normal – thus my diet is totally liquid now.


  6. Sheila1366

    Sheila1366 New Member

    I was tested for gastroparesis a couple of years ago. I had a test and it showed that my food did not move through my stomach very quickly. I eat as little as I can during the day. When I do eat normal I feel very bloated and have terrible heartburn. I tried the medication to treat this but I had side effects ( anxious feeling ). I use to get real sick to my stomach but now I just limit foods high in fat and sugar and eat very small meals or else I suffer.

    Good luck managing it.
  7. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, megan.

    The abstract of the paper I mentioned is below. You can get the full paper free by going to PubMed, typing the PMID number in the search box, clicking on Search, and then clicking on the little box on the upper right.

    Best regards,


    BMC Gastroenterol. 2004 Dec 26;4:32.
    Gastric emptying is slow in chronic fatigue syndrome.

    Burnet RB, Chatterton BE.

    Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Royal Adelaide Hospital, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Australia. <>

    BACKGROUND: Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The objective of this study was to determine the frequency of these symptoms and explore their relationship with objective (radionuclide) studies of upper GI function. METHODS: Thirty-two (32) patients with CFS and 45 control subjects completed a questionnaire on upper GI symptoms, and the 32 patients underwent oesophageal clearance, and simultaneous liquid and solid gastric emptying studies using radionuclide techniques compared with historical controls. RESULTS: The questionnaires showed a significant difference in gastric (p > 0.01) symptoms and swallowing difficulty. Nocturnal diarrhoea was a significant symptom not previously reported.5/32 CFS subjects showed slightly delayed oesophageal clearance, but overall there was no significant difference from the control subjects, nor correlation of oesophageal clearance with symptoms. 23/32 patients showed a delay in liquid gastric emptying, and 12/32 a delay in solid gastric emptying with the delay significantly correlated with the mean symptom score (for each p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: GI symptoms in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are associated with objective changes of upper GI motility.

    PMID: 15619332 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

  8. what can you do for the severe painful bloating, I take probiotics and walmarts gas x pills and am miserable. It isnt what I am eating because I havent been able to eat for the last couple days! am sooo miserable and tired of it all.
  9. hagardreams

    hagardreams New Member

    Yes. 36 years of type 1 diabetes, and the fibro gave it to me.

    I have had problems with the gastro for many years. My doctor gave me Reglan, and that was a big mistake. I noticed up front that I would take it at night and was waking up very depressed. I stayed on it for over 7 months, and finally decided that I had enough. It was doing wonders for the gastro, but the wanting to die all the time, sleeping all the time and just not getting anything done was too much. It worked wonders with my digestive system. I could eat and actually gained some weight, not much, just some.

    Now that I have quit, I am only eating 2 meals a day, and they are smaller ones. My doctor said that the diabetes is what caused it to be so bad, then the fibro added to make it unbarable.

    I sure wish they had a drug that would help with this illness, its miserable sometimes! Just one more fibro prison!


    P.S. If any of this doesnt make sense, its a bad FOG day! Sorry.
  10. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    I wanted to add, I also had a terrible problem with slow digestion, almost no digestion, until I had my gallbladder removed. I have been told by more than one doctor, and read, that gallbladder disease if underdiagnosed. Doctors will go ahead and treat people for gastric reflux, and whatever else, and never think to check the gallbladder.

    There are very simple, non invasive tests to check your gallbladder. In my case, I was so sick by the time they discovered the problem, I was loaded with gallstones, and had lost 50 lbs because I could barely eat. I was also in the ER 1-2 X a month with severe nausea.

    I never had what would be the "classic" symtoms which is common. With all the other excellent advice here. I would also suggest you ask for a ultrasound of your gallbladder and other tests to rule out a problem.

    I had my gallbladder removed 11/06 and it took me 6-8 months to get back to normal. I still can only eat smaller meals.

    I wish you the best...
  11. pacotaco

    pacotaco New Member

    I have alao suffered so badly in that i have been battleling severe pain n bloating to the point of looking like i am going to give birth!! never knew why this was happening to me n my doc's never are able to come up with an answer...I thank you all for the info you have all shared...I also hope to God that your all being helped n feeling better today!!! bless you all n i send gentle hugs of warmth from my heart to all because we all feel the same..!!!
    [This Message was Edited on 11/27/2009]
  12. Svette_Palme

    Svette_Palme New Member

    I have been plagued by bloating for years. This past summer I had some relief from the bloating, and I thought it was because of a fairly radical change in my diet, but now that winter is here I am right back where I was despite eating the same [new] diet.

    So, I am thinking it has something to do with the exersize I was able to do in summer, which is possible only because it is so warm and my muscles do not cramp when I am really warm, like when it is 30oC {90oF} outside, in direct sun.

    I can hardly take a full BREATHE now, I think because the bloat is so huge that there is no room for my lungs to expand without putting pressure on my stomach and it is all making me gag. I have early emphysemia too, which means hyperinflated lungs. Together, it is hell. [no, I am not short of breath].
  13. OMG! That Svette palme I CAN SO RELATE TO YOUR POST, it is the 1 thing I have noticed it gets worse when cold weather hits. I dont exercise but maybe moving around more in summer? I always say I feel like a helium balloon or like I am 9 mos. pregnant when the baby is up miserably high and men drs just look at me. Gas pills are no help. My gastro dr MAN says "you cant have anymore gas retention than anyone else!"?????????

    someone has to know the answers to this, it is ridiculous to suffer so miserably. The only relief I got was when a dr put me on zelnorm but then they took that off the market! grrrrrrrrr!

    oh and I have had a couple gallbladder ultrasounds and they are ok!???
    [This Message was Edited on 11/28/2009]
  14. sunnyd33

    sunnyd33 New Member

    Have had fibro for a little over a year diagnosed and its been hell trying to figure out a medication to help with it. Started having major stomach problems around the middle/end of October of this year. Gave up on the ERs and my primary care doctor and went and saw a gastroenterologist. He immediately ordered a MRCP (special MRI of the bile ducts) thinking I had a gallstone still stuck in my bile duct from where i'd had emergency surgery to remove it 5 years before. Nope. After we got those results on Friday, his nurse had me call at 8am the monday before thanksgiving and they took me in for an endoscopy that afternoon which found esophagitis. The dr. told me he was going to do the gastro emptying study if the endoscopy didn't find anything, but went ahead and did it anyways. Anyways, my stomach got worse the weekend after thanksgiving and I called the on-call dr, described my symptoms, he talked me through the night so I didn't have to go to the ER, went to the PA of the gastro on Monday morning and ended up having a colonoscopy on wed, which questionable proctitis was found and we're awaiting the biopsy results from that. Meanwhile had my gastro emptying study on this past monday and by wednesday was diagnosed and placed on Reglan. Still in so much pain I can't work, but, the drs and my bosses say I should be able to. Plus, the Reglan makes me sleepy. At this time, the stress I'm under (and not having my Lodine and Norflex due to finances b/c my disability at work keeps getting denied for lack of sufficient medical information-- at this point i'm thinking fibromyalgia, pcos, ptsd, anxiety, depression, esophagitis, pinched nerves in my neck, questionable proctitis, and now gastroparesis and i'm not disabled??) is making both conditions worse. So-- I feel your pain!! ~Danielle

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