Fibromyalgia is a complex pain condition that affects your physical and emotional well-being. Many people with fibromyalgia have coexisting chronic health conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What do you do when you’re dealing with both fibro and GERD?
At Interventional Pain Associates in Austin, Texas, our pain management expert, Dr. Sarosh Saleemi, specializes in fibromyalgia, taking a holistic approach to fibromyalgia, focusing on whole-body health. We understand that no single treatment works for everyone, especially when your fibro collides with other health conditions like GERD.
In this month’s blog post, we want to talk about fibro and GERD and how you can successfully manage both.
If you have heartburn more than twice a week, then you have GERD. GERD is a chronic digestive condition that occurs when the acidic contents of your stomach reflux up into your esophagus, causing that burning sensation in your chest.
GERD is common, affecting an estimated 20% of people in the United States. Having heartburn from time to time is no big deal. However, if it’s a recurring problem it can damage the delicate tissue in your esophagus, causing inflammation and putting you at risk of developing serious health conditions like esophageal cancer.
Like fibromyalgia, GERD requires proper medical care.
Fibro and GERD
Researchers are still investigating the connection between fibromyalgia and GERD, but a 2017 study published in the scientific journal, Pain, found a strong link between fibromyalgia and GERD.
According to the study, you can have GERD and develop fibromyalgia or have fibromyalgia and then develop GERD. The researchers call this a bidirectional relationship. However, you’re more likely to have fibromyalgia first and then develop GERD.
Managing fibro and GERD
When you have fibro and GERD (or any of the other comorbid conditions linked to fibromyalgia like depression or rheumatoid arthritis), it’s important to get treatment that addresses all your symptoms.
For GERD, treatment to ease symptoms may include:
- Weight management
- Eating a balanced diet
- Not eating too close to bedtime
- Smoking cessation
- Avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms (caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods)
- Regular exercise
You may also need medication, such as antacids, H2 blockers, or proton pump inhibitors (PPI). We also provide intravenous (IV) therapy that improves digestive health and may ease your GERD symptoms and enhance your overall health and sense of well-being.
Any coexisting condition may cause a flare-up in your fibromyalgia. Because we understand the connection between fibro and GERD, we create plans that address all your health issues, not just your pain.
If you’re having a hard time managing your fibro and GERD, we can help. Call our office or click the “book online” button to make an appointment with our fibromyalgia expert.