Dysphagia In Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia and dysphagia

Dysphagia refers to a condition characterized by a difficulty in swallowing. There are various conditions that can trigger dysphagia. Someone who suffers from it often finds it difficult to live a normal life. Depending on the condition, the manner of swallowing can become extremely painful. Thus, eating and getting enough nutrients for the body can be a challenge. Fibromyalgia patients often complain about having dysphagia.

What Causes Dysphagia?

There are various reasons why one would suffer from dysphagia. Anything that interrupts with the nerves and muscles responsible for controlling the esophagus can lead to this condition. However, some of the most reported causes are:

• Achalasia– this condition triggers constriction of the muscles of the esophagus.

• Diffuse spasm – a condition involving uncontrollable muscle spasms, usually right after swallowing food.

• GERD or Gastro Intestinal Reflux Disease – this refers to the destruction of the tissues in the esophagus. It is often due to stomach acid flowing into the esophagus.

• Esophageal stricture – narrowing of the esophagus opening as a result of the scar tissues or tumor.

Dysphagia And Fibromyalgia

In one study, a good number of fibromyalgia patients have complained about the difficulty in swallowing. Fibromyalgia patients who participated in the study has been shown to have dysphagia and at a rate of 40 percent higher than those who do not have fibromyalgia.

Unfortunately, it is still a mystery as to why dysphagia is common in patients with fibromyalgia. There are just so many things that people don’t know about fibromyalgia just yet. But experts have speculated certain possibilities.

First of all, fibromyalgia patients tend to suffer from muscle weakness. The weakness may be able to explain why dysphagia happens. The muscles responsible for controlling the process of swallowing are affected by the general weakness of a fibromyalgia patient.

Treatment Option

If you think you are suffering from dysphagia, the first step is to get a diagnosis. One way to diagnose the condition is through imaging test, such as the barium X-ray. The doctor examines the results from the test to check if your esophagus expands correctly. This can also be done through endoscopic camera.

The treatment mainly depends on what causes the condition. For instance, if the cause is weakness of muscles, the doctor may ask you to perform certain exercises. These exercises aim at strengthening your muscles, thereby treating dysphagia.


  • Thank you for this article on the swallowing issue! One comment: after having every test there is for swallowing and consulting with all of the top docs , no one could give me a diagnosis! The spasms do not happen without food and none of the tests included food only liquids and barium. Since I also have dermatomyositis I was anticipating a diagnosis to no avail. Another situation that Fibro people just have to live with!

  • I have Fibro and years I am ago diagnosed with Dysphasia along with Acid reflux disease and Barretts , and the difficulty swallowing follows suit especially at night constant clearing , my Drs did tell me all part of the Fibro… Fibro is tiresome and painful especially when u also have 3 forms of arthritis with it … and psoraris frustrating but I have great Drs.. and better Meds and I’m trying now not to have to take pain Meds … typical Lyrica cymbalta dont do nothing for Fibro at all… I take Savella along with Neurotin Ortelza and sulfazalazine and Soma , and dew other Meds for my Gerds and IBD…not sure what else out there to help I do better since been on anti inflammatory and my dr did a ultrasound looking into my muscles and that just blew me away seeing all the swelling fluid along and between muscles before .. love getting this emails gives a lot of good info and answers and discussions with my Drs

  • Can you please tell me if there have been studies of the throat issues? Is there a person I can connect with for further information or the author of this article? I would like to share it with the physicians that have seen about this condition. especially my rheumatologist.
    Thank you.
    Carol Wisker

  • I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia over ten years ago and just last year with Dysphagia. Was told nothing could be done for me and early this year I had emergency surgery to remove a pill that got lodged in my throat. On Monday of this week I just had surgery and two balloons were placed in my esophagus. To soon to know if this will help,it hurts still to swallow but I am not choking. I am also taking Omeprazole for the acid reflux which seemed to just appear overnight. I was also told I’m allergic to wheat and dairy but what’s funny is sipping on milk seems to be the only thing that gives me any relief. Every day it seems some new symptom appears. Fibro sufferers stay strong,omit as much stress as possible from your life and be as active as your body allows. Try to find a happy as often as possible no matter how small. Smiling and laughing can help with depression and anxiety.

  • I had some issues with drinking water or swallowing spit. After they stretched my esophagus my throat esophagus started spasming from the back of my throat down my sternum. Since it was a difficult stretch they said, I felt it could have been fibromyalgia related. But after talking with a couple rheumatologist and other doctors they felt it wasn’t part of that. It has been 2 years now with this throat issue, and it is turned in to a pain in the throat and not being able to speak because vocal cords are getting stuck now and then. I am not able to take full breaths it seems or do too much activity. I have asked them numerous times about why I can’t get a full of lung capacity. But now it affects with my speaking in Activity 2. I am calling the doctors back. Thank you for this article it may help solve some things. Well not solve but clarify.

  • Allison and carol I too have really bad swallowing difficulties and constant clearing of my throat I have had fibro since about 200-2001i never had this issue until I was also diagnosed about two years ago with Parkinson’s never had this issue until a few months ago it is a symptom of Parkinson’s as well I asked my neurologist and he agreed please check with a neurologist it may not be from fibro I’m no doctor but just thought I would stick my two cents in good luck and God bless

  • My mum had dysphasia with her Parkinson’s disease and had to be peg fed
    She also lost her ability to talk also
    I have fibro and many other problems which may or may not be linked to my fibro
    I have suffered with my throat, lack of saliva, choking to the point of losing consciousness and I live alone.
    I’ve been told I have sic a syndrome hence the dryness, I have been told it’s the medication I take for other problems.
    I’m just fed up with it all. I try to keep active but it’s very hard when you are in pain.
    Love to everyone lets all try and keep positive,

  • I am 62 and have had fibro for 40 yrs or so. Back then I was told it was in my head and sent to see counselor. So much more info now, I have so many of the symptoms plus allergies (had since 6 yrs) and bad back. Tired of the life I have to lead. Am going to try this New curcumin and maybe cbc oil if that doesn’t help. Good luck all.

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