Fibromyalgia and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Are Linked, New Study Shows

Fibromyalgia and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Are Linked, New Study Shows
Fibromyalgia and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) have a bidirectional association, a new population-based study in Taiwan shows. The study, “Bidirectional association between fibromyalgia and gastroesophageal reflux disease: two population-based retrospective cohort analysis,” was published in the journal Pain. The study’s senior author was Chia-Hung Kao, MD, a professor at the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medical Science and School of Medicine at the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan. Patients with fibromyalgia have gastrointestinal disturbances including irritable bowel syndrome and GERD, which is characterized by gastric acid entering the esophagus, oral cavity, or the lungs, causing regurgitation and heartburn. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship are unclear, although animal studies have suggested that acidity in the esophagus may be a critical factor. Patients with GERD frequently use proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) to decrease the production of gastric acid. But the long-term use of this group of drugs may alter susceptibility to bacterial pathogens in the gut and cause vitamin B12 and magnesium deficiencies, which are regarded as potential contributors to developing fibromyalgia. In the other direction, fibromyalgia patients on PPIs for other gastrointestinal problems may also be at risk of developing GERD. Scientists conducted a large population-based study to assess this bidirectional association between fibromyalgia a
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