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.

15 Comments

  • 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!

    • Hi, I had my esophagus stretched 3x and it helped. It lasts about 3 years, getting ready to have it done again by my gastroenterologist. Hopefully you find one to help you.

  • 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

    • For psorisas…use coconut cream oil. Its moisturized and not greasy. If you are in Canada Wal-Mart Chinese. Food section. 2.97$ cdn dollars. Coconut oil. You can also use in cooking. Plus I use it After I shower. From head to toe. Neck knees elbows feet and under heels. I’m so soft. Its my secret also my skin is beautiful. I’m 63. Look like my 40’s…people say.
      Its also antibacterial fighter. Microbacterial too. Healthy eating.

  • 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.

  • I would like to comment on the nervous system that causes our bodies to be on fire constantly. It is this constant anxiety that I am in “fight or flight” all the time. I was taking Xanax and of course I am no longer allowed the magic pill because of the Drug problem they have where I live. It’s insane they also took my pain Meds this my quality of life is nearly nothing.

    The state of anxiety causes constant nausea and a feeling of being unwell or unsafe all the time. I have done the coloring books the Mandalas and they are Beautiful but nothing worked like the last Medication I was placed on for about thirteen years.

    It is sad that I can’t be myself anymore and cleaning the Home I live in is a chore done mostly while sitting in a chair to mop or vacuum. I want my peace back I want to feel like I am contributing to my Community again. It’s is not going to happen so everyday I tell myself I will be ok I will meditate for hours and still not feel free of this all encompassing fear of whatever. I moved to my Hometown without the knowledge of the Health care problem and if I were to move back it would cost another four thousand dollars I do not have so what do you do with that ?

    I took Neurontin and Lyrica both made my ankles swell and I gained thirty five pounds in two months eating nothing but now my pain is worse and they say lose the weight well well if I could do that do they not think I would ???

    So since 1993 I have dealt with this beast and been back to work several times I was ready again and had momentum when they stopped me in 2013 and just refused to treat me and threatened to put me in treatment instead of do no harm and help me titrate off the Medications I had finally found that worked.

    I will be 59 and you know I am tired very tired. I am not being very positive tonight because I am going to hurt really bad tomorrow I actually made myself clean two rooms and mopped floors that is just sad and so for tonight I wish all of you a wellness weekend and hope for the future in our fight to regain a life worth living !!

    I also have OA now too and I Cath four times a day … no worries I am still pretty my Husband says now that is my Knight in shining Armor I do hope I can be with him more one day !! Give me a break now we both need to have a Hepatitis A shot because somewhere the Heroin in the needle community has threatened us once again I truly have compassion for addiction but not when it at my expense. Please get it together people what the hell is this walk softly with Nacan Community now because it sure feels like this to me and I m sick to death of all of it !!!

  • I have been diagnosed with eosinophilic oesophagitis which is an autoimmune disease where the white blood cells increase in the collagen bands in the throat causing it to constrict.
    I have not found any of the treatments helpful and have basically been told they don’t know eno ugh about it and they’ve tried all they can. Has anyone else heard of or been diagnosed with this.
    Kind regards
    Nicola

  • I have dysphasia and have had every known test, but I get it even swallowing my own saliva at times and I’m very afraid to eat alone as I have choked a few times and needed the Hymlich manoeuvre. Nitroglycerin spray under my tongue and drinking something hot before I eat has helped very much, also a prescription for GRD every other day.

  • Interesting read, I have been told I have pollymyalger rhumatica,and possibly rheumatoid atheists,and suspected giant cell arterists, and I get all the symptoms mentioned,every day can be a challenge,as I have no idea if it’s going to be a good or bad day,I am being treated with steroids and methotrexate and pain killers, which has definitely helped as I can now do a few things so long as I take my time ,I can’t stand for to long,and can’t sit for to long ,I was once told it may be fibromyalgia but that was dismissed as I have a high pain threshold, (I have in the past broken bones and just thought I had hurt them a little bit,walked around with a broken ankle and a broken hand for 2 wks before I realised they were a bit more than just a little hurt,), I just wish there was a confirmed diagnosis,in the mean time I will read and hope that these informative pages will help me deal with stuff

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