Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Fibromyalgia

What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Like fibromyalgia, the cause of IBD is still unknown. However, one theory suggests that IBD could be an autoimmune disease. A immune malfunction causes the immune system to attack the good cells in the digestive tract hence causing the inflammation. Although the cause remains a mystery, the identified risk factors of IBD include:

  • Being of Caucasian or Ashkenazi Jewish descent
  • Genetic disposition
  • Use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Smoking
  • Staying in an urban environment
  • Diet high in fat and refined food

Inflammatory Bowel Disease In Fibromyalgia

Studies show that people who have IBD, especially ulcerative colitis, are at high risk to developing fibromyalgia. In fact, about 30% of those who have ulcerative colitis are also suffering from fibromyalgia.

It is difficult to figure out the reason behind this link, especially since the conditions are not fully understood yet. However, if ulcerative colitis is a type of autoimmune disease, then it is understandable why the condition affects those with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia patients are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases compared to those without fibromyalgia. In fact fibromyalgia itself had been thought to be an autoimmune condition. However, most experts agree that this may not be the case.

Many believe that the link between inflammatory bowel disease and fibromyalgia is stress. Those with fibromyalgia tend to live a very stressful life due to their struggle with pain. Excessive stress can lead to autoimmune diseases. Regardless of the reason, having fibromyalgia can make the pain of having IBD even worse.


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