Understanding How Gut Health and Fibromyalgia Are Linked

Understanding How Gut Health and Fibromyalgia Are Linked

We who suffer from fibromyalgia have so many issues to deal with, including pain, fatigue, and more. We often don’t take into consideration our gut health and how it has an impact on our overall health. The fancy term for this is our microbiome. 

One of these issues is known as “leaky gut.” What exactly is that? According to Marcelo Campos, MD, a primary care doctor at Harvard Vanguard, here’s a working definition:

“Inside our bellies, we have an extensive intestinal lining covering more than 4,000 square feet of surface area. When working properly, it forms a tight barrier that controls what gets absorbed into the bloodstream. An unhealthy gut lining may have large cracks or holes, allowing partially digested food, toxins, and bugs to penetrate the tissues beneath it. This may trigger inflammation and changes in the gut flora (normal bacteria) that could lead to problems within the digestive tract and beyond. The research world is booming today with studies showing that modifications in the intestinal bacteria and inflammation may play a role in the development of several common chronic diseases.”

There is a possible correlation between leaky gut and fibromyalgia as well as other chronic illnesses, although currently, no hard and fast evidence proves that theory. I personally believe it to be true. If you are on an antibiotic regimen, you need to understand that at the same time you are killing off the bad bacteria, you’re also killing off the good bacteria, thus altering the balance in your gut. This will definitely affect your health, as the immune system relies on the health of the microflora in the gut. 

How does all of this affect those of us with fibro? A breath test can be taken called the lactulose test, which measures hydrogen levels. Higher hydrogen levels mean increased pain levels. This also makes a connection between irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia. 

We need to be proactive in eating more whole foods and less processed foods. Eating fermented foods are helpful, but to be honest, there aren’t really many of those that appeal to me. This is a natural way to get probiotics into your gut and restore healthy intestinal flora.

What happens in your gut doesn’t stay in your gut — it affects every part of your body and, therefore, your health.


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Effie says:

    Hello Robin, I absolutely agree. I would like to share a book which literally saved my life by an amazing Aussie FM warrior, Lee Holmes and her book “Heal your Gut” among others, She writes “Think of your gut as a garden that can only thrive when the soil is healthy. Healthy soil requires healthy foods and nutrients that will allow the ‘good guys’ to flourish. By feeding my body an all-natural, easily digestible wholefoods, I allowed it to heal at a fundamental level”
    As yet, I have not had the opportunity to meet Lee, however on my bucket list!
    Gently hugs

  2. Donna says:

    This is the condensed version, I just lost 30 min of typing. I have been treated for leaky gut/intestinal permeability 2x. 1st time for 1yr, 2nd time 6mo. Foods & nutrients leak thru the gut lining causing to react as a foreign offender. Fatigue, cognitive impairment, pain, gas, bloating, itching, & other allergic responses. I was treated for candida overgrowth, probiotics, bone broth, anti yeast meds, supplements, proper diet, no sugar, colon cleanse & more. Google leaky & gut/intestinal permeability. Despite lots of info most GI dr’s don’t recognize this illness. I recommend an internest,family medicine. If you are in Illinois Advanced Integrated Health Dr. William Epperly Bloomingdale ILL. I highly recommend. This was life changing for me & gave me better quality of life. Something fibro sufferers can’t spare. Good luck

Leave a Comment