Intestinal Fortitude


My stomach is NOT my friend! I am lucky enough to swing from constipation to diarrhoea in less than the blink of an eye.

Research findings from the Walton Centre in the UK report that the small bowel in FM sufferers (and when it comes to IBS, we are definitely sufferers!) shows overgrowth of abnormal bacteria. The study demonstrated an increased intestinal permeability that produces increased hyperactivity of the intestines. Intestinal permeability means abnormal substances gain access to the body and alter its immune function.


According to reports in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, constipation or infrequent stools occur in 30% of FM sufferers. Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement less than three times a week. Some individuals complain of abdominal pain and straining to move the bowels in conjunction with the constipation.


Clinical Nurse Specialist describes diarrhoea occurring in up to 90% of FM sufferers. Individuals describe a pressing urge to move the bowels as well as passage of unformed stool. Diarrhoea occurs along with high levels of anxiety. Reports in the Journal of Nutrition indicate ingestion of probiotics decreases the symptoms of diarrhoea.

Fecal Incontinence

The Journal of Psychosomatic Research reports 2% to 7% of individuals with FM report uncontrolled passage of stool. This fecal incontinence transpires frequently in concurrence with diarrhoea and creates major problems in daily life. If it has ever happened to you, you never want to leave the house again (or, at least, without knowing where the closest toilet is!)

gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Research, gastroesophageal reflux disease describes the condition where food travels backward from the stomach into the oesophagus. The oesophagus is the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach. Characteristic symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease include epigastric pain, a sensation of fullness, and heartburn. gastroesophageal reflux disease and other intestinal problems occur in 50% of FM sufferers.

I have tried some (very expensive) probiotics without any improvement. Basically, I make sure that I have a constant supply of Imodium, Buscopan and Durolax on hand, at all times.

Has anyone found something that works (not just on symptoms)?


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  1. I was constantly suffering from all the above you mentioned until a recent operation and does of antibiotics. I had a gangreen appendix and contracted an infectious bug while in hospital to remove my appendix. I ended up having a 6 weeks stay in hospital on 4 lots of antibiotics intravenously 24/7 for the 6 weeks. Everysince then, my diarreha/constipation has ended and Im no longer having bad reaction to gluiten and dairy. The antibiotics completely changed the flora in my gut and resolved the issue. since then I have used probiotic yogurt and tablets to make sure it doesnt return.

    • I had my appendix out when I was 12 so I won’t be able to do what you did. I always hoped that when I had my gastric banding (6 years ago, and I couldn’t eat any solids for a week beforehand or a week after), it would re-start my system afresh – it didn’t go quite as planned. Bummer!

  2. I never knew any of this I just saw this Facebook page 2 days ago and have learned more info than I get from my doctors. I was diagnosed with FM in 2001 and have so many questions but I’m a disabled Vet and my doctors aren’t to eager to answer my questions. I’m so frustrated and not sure where to turn

    • You are always welcome to ask questions here – some-one might know the answer; although, with fibro, there seems to be lots more questions than answers!
      Make sure you have a look at some previous posts because there is all kinds of information hidden around this blogsite.

  3. I had IBS long before I was diagnosed with FM… but yes to all of the above symptoms! I used to have just a problem eating dairy, and then dairy and fried anything… which has now gotten to the point that I just take the immodium before i eat anything!

  4. I started using Philips Colon Health probiotic when it came out, and I have noticed a difference! I used to be sick with diarrhea a few times a week, and now it only happens every now and then. I still have to be sensible about what I eat and avoiding stress, but I’m no longer afraid to be far from a bathroom. I have been able to expand my diet a bit more, which has been the best part. I highly recommend it!

  5. Hi Simone, I generally have a totally sluggish gut to the point that food was just sitting in my stomach and not going anywhere. A fiber supplement can help both diarrhea and constipation. I use Citrucel because it doesn’t increase the gas and that’s a good thing! Because I am more on the constipation end of things I also take Miralax. I have to be cautious and gentle with my gut because it doesn’t take much to push me over to the other side. FMS is not for sissies! Take good care, Valda

  6. I never connected my IBS and constant stomach problems to FM I assumed it was caused from the removal of Gallbladder at young age the only thing I ever found that gave me any relief for more than a moment was first Prevacid and then Nexium both very expensive in the states but I was able to get it covered by the pharmaceutical company based on income I don’t know if they have those type of programs in Australia. Honestly though since I have been having regular Reiki treatments my stomach hasn’t bothered me in over 3 months knock on wood. Longest time with out constant pain and no medicine for it. The only probiotic I have any info on is Acidophiles and it does wonders to put the good bacteria back in the intestines the powder works best and can be put in anything and allows for quick absorption. I hope this is helpful your friend Lori

  7. Lots of fibre should fix you up. But you might also be having a food sensitivity reaction. You could try an elimination diet to see what makes a difference. Start with gluten free, no dairy and no corn or any of it’s products(eg corn starch, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, sucrose etc). Most ME and FM people are sensitive to corn.

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