Ask any doctor or medical practitioner and they will tell you that diagnosing fibromyalgia is very difficult and tricky and often results in misdiagnoses that further worsen the problem. This is because that at this moment no standardized fibromyalgia diagnosis tests have been formulated and the fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria usually differs from one expert to the next.
To further increase the problem, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to numerous other conditions such as;
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
By conducting diagnostic tests, you can easily rule out these diseases and focus on fibromyalgia alone. NFA (National Fibromyalgia Association) estimates that it takes an average of five years for a person to be properly diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which itself explains the difficult involved.
Criteria for Diagnosis:
Many doctors use the guidelines and criteria used by ACR to diagnose the syndrome. According to ACR, a person is suffering from fibromyalgia if they are:
- Suffering from a constant part in all the four quadrants of your body, for four months or more on a consistent basis.
- Almost 60% of the specific tender points in your body show tenderness.
Examining the Tender Points – Tender Point Exams:
This is the old type of diagnostic test for fibromyalgia that is quickly being replaced by following what is known as the WPI exam. However, the tender point exam is still often used by some doctors to get a diagnosis, and, this is actually the preferred method for standardized medical researchers looking into fibromyalgia.
It works like this: If a patient has tenderness in 60%, 11 out of 18 tender points, that person may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The doctor will press each tender point to check the severity of the pain. Some of these tender points are the upper chest area, upper hips, inner knees and sides of hips.
The problem with this particular diagnosis method is that many doctors do not know how to do a tender point count and thus are not comfortable diagnosing fibromyalgia because they believe that this is the only means of making a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
The Widespread pain index, also known as WPI, is a new and more efficient way of checking a patient with fibromyalgia to make a correct fibromyalgia diagnosis. In addition to that, fatigue and problems with cognition are also considered which are rated on a scale on from 0 to 3. This is called the severity score.
The diagnosis revolves around a few key indicators including: the number of painful areas, number of symptoms, and their severity. The American College of Rheumatology gave its stamp of approval to these new criteria, and the medical community finds this method to be much easier and a more accurate means of getting a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
Fibromyalgia and the IBS/SIBO Link:
WebMD recently published an article that shows very good evidence of a link between fibromyalgia and IBS. Over 60% of fibromyalgia patients are also suffering from IBS/SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth)
We wholeheartedly believe that there is a link with an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria (and in some cases yeast/fungi as well) within the gut that play a direct role in fibromyalgia. Experts are just now beginning to put the pieces together on this, but we have been following this link for our own fibromyalgia issues for some time now with tremendous results.
The interesting thing is, experts have found, you don’t even need to show any digestive symptoms at all to be diagnosed with SIBO.
The breakdown of this connection, we believe, goes something like this: An overgrowth of bacteria in the body begin creating what is known as leaky gut syndrome. This leaves tiny holes within the intestinal walls for particles and toxins to enter the bloodstream. These bacteria naturally secrete neurotoxic substances as a by-product of their metabolic processes which can then enter the bloodstream and cause havoc on the rest of the body, including the nervous system and the brain.
The body, having to deal with the onslaught of foreign particles entering the bloodstream, goes into immunity hyperdrive, which causes inflammation throughout the body. The neurotoxic secretions from the bacteria add further insult to injury causing neurological symptoms that often accompany fibromyalgia.
We typically suggest that if you suspect fibromyalgia, to get tested for SIBO. Typically, this is done by scheduling a lactulose breath test which is a simple breath test your doctor can administer relatively quickly.
If you’d like to learn more about this, or about how to get a more accurate fibromyalgia diagnosis, click on this link to learn how we’ve discovered a way to fight this problem by trying this solution out on ourselves with great success. We also have an eBook called “Restore 3 Handbook” which you can learn more about here.