Fibromyalgia or Sicca Syndrome?

Sicca Syndrome

Are you suffering from the symptoms of fibromyalgia? You know the chronic pain, fatigue, and mental fog? All tell-tale signs that you’ve got fibromyalgia. But have you ever considered that maybe it’s not fibro? There are actually a number of other conditions that cause very similar symptoms. For instance, have you ever heard of sicca syndrome?

Sicca, also known as Sjogren’s syndrome, is one of these conditions, and it can often be difficult to tell apart from fibromyalgia. So what is the syndrome, what are the symptoms, and how can you distinguish it from fibromyalgia?

What Is Sicca Syndrome?

The syndrome is named after Swedish doctor Samuel Sjogren, who first identified the condition after examining a number of patients who had it. The term sicca syndrome refers to the way it attacks the moisture producing areas of the body and drying them out or desiccating them.

The syndrome is an autoimmune condition that can damage a number of organs in the body. On a basic level, an autoimmune condition is one where your body’s immune system essentially turns against you. In a healthy immune system, white blood cells attack foreign cells such as bacteria or viruses. This trains the blood cells to quickly identify these cells and destroy them as soon as they appear. It’s an important part of your overall health and the only reason that we can survive in a world filled with dangerous bacteria.

In someone with an autoimmune condition, these white blood cells get confused and become conditioned to treat your body’s own cells as though they were hostile invaders. As a result, they attack the body and start progressively destroying tissue and often these conditions can eventually cause significant damage to vital organs.

Sicca syndrome causes your body’s immune system to attack your entire body and though the most commonly affected areas are the moisture producing tissue like the eyes and mucous glands, it can affect everything from your muscles to your lungs. And this can produce some unusual symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms?

Sicca syndrome can create symptoms that are quite similar to other autoimmune condition. People with sicca can experience a persistent cough or possibly painful skin rashes.

But more importantly, sicca syndrome often results in symptoms that are very similar to fibromyaliga. See, it can result in chronic fatigue, mental fog, and chronic pain. And that of course sounds very similar to the symptoms of fibromyalgia. And another similarity is that both conditions can be hard to diagnose, so you can spend years with aching muscles and fatigue before you even know what you have.

Put all that together and it’s quite possible that you could get the two conditions confused. You could be doing research one day to figure out why you’re always tired and have muscle pains and decide that fibromyalgia is the most likely cause only to find out a year later that you actually have sicca syndrome.

So, how do you tell the two apart?

Sicca Syndrome vs. Fibromyalgia

Obviously, there are some significant similarities between sicca syndrome and fibromyalgia. But there is also one significant difference between the two conditions that makes it possible to distinguish between them. That’s the fact that it attacks the moisture producing glands of the body.

One of the most common areas that this occurs is the eyes (in the tear ducts), which leads sufferers to get dry eyes. And because the tear ducts help protect your eyes, this can get very uncomfortable. It can feel like you’ve got something irritating, like sand, in your eyes which you just can’t seem to get rid of. You can also find yourself drying out in other areas, like the mouth.

And if you’re a woman -and the majority of sicca sufferers are- you may experience an uncomfortable dryness of the vagina.

But, this dryness also let’s you know that what you are dealing with is not fibromyalgia. While fibromyalgia can produce a lot of different –and often strange– symptoms, this kind of frequent dryness isn’t one of them. So if you’re finding that you frequently experience fatigue and muscle pain, be aware that there other possible explanations than fibromyalgia.

And sicca might account for the symptoms you are experiencing. It’s worth keeping in mind as you try to make sense of your situation.  Discuss your concerns about symptoms with your primary care physician or rheumatologist.


The preceding information is from and is posted here for sharing purposes only. Please visit their site for additional information.
Image from Wikimedia Commons



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

From Fibromyalgia Treating:

Both of these conditions cause the kind of long-term fatigue that you might be experiencing, and both are devastating to have to live with. So, it’s important that if you think there’s a chance you have either condition that you take the time to learn more about them and how they are managed. So what are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and what can be done to treat them?

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Doctors don’t know much about chronic fatigue syndrome. They don’t know what causes it, and in fact, they aren’t completely sure what it even is. Some suspect that it might be an autoimmune condition or the late stages of some previously undescribed disease.

But regardless of what chronic fatigue syndrome actually is, there are a few symptoms that are a dead give away. First, there is the fatigue. Obviously, the main sign of chronic fatigue syndrome is that it causes you to feel tired over a long period. Doctors consider any fatigue lasting from 3-6 months to be “chronic.”

People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel a chronic fatigue that is hard to cope with. They often nod off during the day at bad times or have a hard time performing mentally challenging tasks due to the fact that they are constantly exhausted.

But what sets chronic fatigue syndrome apart from the many other diseases that cause chronic fatigue is that there are also some physical symptoms. Often in chronic fatigue syndrome, patients get frequent sore throats and muscle pains. This had led to the speculation that chronic fatigue syndrome is an autoimmune disorder since these are symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders, but so far there’s not medical consensus on the issue.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia leaves sufferers feeling run down much of the time. On top of the fact that people with fibromyalgia often have a hard time sleeping, the condition itself leaves them feeling fatigued. And also like with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia seems to have no obvious cause.

Some doctors think it’s an autoimmune disorder and others blame everything from diet to overactive microglia in the brain. But no matter what the actual cause of fibromyalgia is, the symptoms are often hard to deal with. There’s the chronic fatigue but also the extreme pain in the muscles that seems to flare up from time to time and the mental fog that makes it difficult to think. In addition, there’s a wide variety of more unusual symptoms such as chronic itching and IBS.

How Are Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia Treated?

If you have either chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, you’re probably most concerned with finding a cure. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of an effective cure at the moment… for either condition. That means that by and large your life after a chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia diagnosis will mostly be limited to trying to find some way to manage such disabling conditions.

Luckily, there are a few different ways that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are treated. For fibromyalgia, the only drugs that are officially approved for treatment are anti-depressants. For some people who suffer from fibromyalgia, these anti-depressants are effective in treating their symptoms. But others find little relief from them. But there are a number of other drugs that people with fibromyalgia turn to, particularly a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. Though these are usually used for treating epilepsy, many people with fibromyalgia feel that they work well for their symptoms.

This is also similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, which is often treated with antidepressants as well. But other ways to manage chronic fatigue focus on things like diet and exercise. While these are certainly not a cure for the condition, they can help quite a lot with the severity of your symptoms. And this is also the case with fibromyalgia as patients who maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle consistently report less severe fibromyalgia symptoms.

And that shows the degree to which chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are related. Both produce similar symptoms and are treated in similar ways. And until doctors know what causes these conditions, being able to manage them is, unfortunately, the best people who suffer from them will be able to hope for. But managing the conditions starts with learning about them.

Information is from and is posted here for sharing purposes only.
Image from Flickr

6 Painless Symptoms of Fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia pain can easily derail your entire life. It’s an agonizing and seemingly endless experience that leaves you unable to do the things that other people take for granted. But while that pain is the most noticeable symptom and the one that usually sends people to the doctor for the first time, there are a large number of painless symptoms of fibromyalgia.

And because many of these symptoms aren’t things that people typically associate with fibromyalgia, they often go unnoticed, which can delay getting a diagnosis. So, here are some painless symptoms of fibromyalgia that you should watch out for.

Fibro Fog

One of the most common painless symptoms of fibromyalgia – and one that’s hard to recognize- is what’s called “fibro fog.” Essentially, this is a kind of mental haze that affects people with fibromyalgia from time to time and results in a range of mental symptoms.

Usually, fibro fog makes it hard to focus on daily tasks or causes you to forget simple details you just learned. It isn’t uncommon for someone with fibro fog to do something like leaving their house keys in the door or spend half an hour looking for their cell phone only to realize it’s in their hand.


Anxiety is another common painless symptom of fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, everyone feels anxious from time to time, and a huge number of people around the world suffer from anxiety disorders. For instance, 18% of all Americans struggle with serious anxiety on a daily basis, making it the most common mental illness in the country.

But persistent anxiety is also associated with fibromyalgia. And that means that if you are experiencing panic attacks or feelings of dread regularly you may have the condition.

Frequent Bowel Movements

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a condition that affects around 10% of the world’s population. And it’s characterized by a wide range of trouble with your bowels. It can make you constipated or do the opposite and cause you to have frequent diarrhea. It is actually a much more serious problem than the name might suggest.

But, fibromyalgia can often result in symptoms that are similar to IBS. And people with fibromyalgia often end up feeling constipated or having frequent bowel movements.

So if you find yourself going to the bathroom frequently (or not frequently enough) you might just be suffering from fibromyalgia.

Frequent Urination

Another one of the strange but painless symptoms of fibromyalgia is frequent urination. Essentially, someone who suffers from this symptom will find they have an uncontrollable need to urinate frequently no matter how little they drink or how often they go.

And while that might not sound like a serious problem, imagine having to urinate really badly but not being able to get up because of your severe fibromyalgia pain. Or imagine having the little bit of sleep you are able to get interrupted by a need to use the bathroom. That makes frequent urination a pretty unpleasant symptom to have.

Continue article here: 6 Painless Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Wyatt Redd / April 19, 2017 (From


Image from Pexels.

Fibro and MS: What Are the Differences?

Disabled Body

A few days ago, my blogger-buddy over at Dinosaurs, Donkeys and MS blogged about 10 Things About Living with MS, and it brought back to mind not only how similar Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia are but also how they are often misdiagnosed and/or incorrectly identified for each other (or several other chronic  illnesses).

While I have several female cousins with MS, I do not have MS. I was incorrectly diagnosed with it in late 1998, even though lab work did not back up the diagnosis. Two years…and three doctors later, I finally got the correct diagnosis – Degenerative Joint Disease complicated by Fibromyalgia.

No, I didn’t ‘doctor shop’. My mother had gone through the same situation twelve years earlier being misdiagnosed with MS and Systemic Lupus, before her Systemic Scleroderma was identified. Mom warned me the only thing worse than the chronic pain the disease causes was having a doctor who didn’t listen and refused to research chronic illnesses.

Of course, she was right.

Getting the right diagnosis brings peace of mind. Self-doubt and depression will wear you down – not to mention exacerbate the illness – after countless trips to see a doctor and being told all tests were negative and x-rays/CT scans/MRIs showed nothing.

Unfortunately, getting the right diagnosis does not bring a cure… because one does not exist… for Fibromyalgia or Multiple Sclerosis or the more than fifty other recognized invisible illnesses.

Why invisible? Because NINETY-SIX PERCENT of people with these chronic medical conditions show NO outward sign of their illness.

Simply put – we don’t look sick. But out of this same group 10% experience symptoms that are considered disabling.

Guess who’s in THAT number? Trust me, it’s not a team I chose to be on.

It’s vital that we all be advocates for our own health care and the LEADER of the team, especially when a chronic illness is suspected. However, you cannot diagnose yourself. The best doctor for that is a rheumatologist. But you cannot be helped unless you tell your doctor EVERYTHING. Every ache, pain, migraine, rash, reaction to foods, light, sounds, smells – everything.

The information below is from and posted here for sharing purposes only. It is good information and much more is on their website. But please understand, pull up any two Fibromyalgia websites and you WILL find they contradict each other in several areas. They’re not trying to mislead-they just happen to follow different studies. There are LOTS of studies – thousands. I’ve personally been in six.

We need cures. We needed them yesterday. We need doctors, researchers, and chronic illness foundations to get on the same page. We need them to work together, not on countless studies with varying results.

Most importantly, we need them to listen to us – the five million people in this country who live with these devastating illnesses every. Single. Day.

Be well.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Fibro and MS: What Are the Differences? ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis are two diagnoses that you never
want to hear from your doctor.

Both involve muscle and joint pain, and neither can be cured. There are
treatments for both of these diseases, but there is no getting rid of them.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread, chronic pain
throughout the body. The exact cause of it is unknown, but scientists
have narrowed down some factors that play a role in developing the disease.

*The symptoms of fibromyalgia include the following:*

* Pain
* Anxiety
* Memory problems and concentration issues
* Depression
* Fatigue
* Headaches
* IBS (irritable Bowel Syndrome)
* Morning stiffness and aches
* Sleep issues and fatigue
* Numbness and tingling in hands, arms, legs and feet
* Tender or trigger points
* Urinary problems such as pain or frequency
* Rash/red skin particularly on the face

The constant pain patients experience is what often sends them to their
doctor. It is the most common symptom of fibromyalgia, and can often be

Fatigue is the second most common among fibromyalgia sufferers. Everyday
activities such as ironing, grocery shopping or walking the dog can
leave victims feeling extremely exhausted.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is classified as an autoimmune disease of the central
nervous system, which includes the brain and spine. The disease attacks
the proactive covering of nerves, which is called myelin.

This causes inflammation and often leaves the myelin damaged. Myelin is needed for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If the myelin damage is little, nerve impulses can travel with little disruption. However, if nerve damage is extreme, disruptions can be frequent causing damage to the nerve fibres.

Multiple Sclerosis is unpredictable and can differ greatly from person
to person. It is often diagnosed in people ages fifteen to forty. The
highest number of cases of multiple sclerosis in the world is in Canada.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary depending on the severity of the
nerve damage.

*Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:*

* Balance issues and dizziness
* Bladder issues
* Bowel issues
* Blurred vision
* Slurred speech
* Depression
* Fatigue
* Pain
* Difficulty walking
* Sensory impairment; numbness and tingling
* Weakness
* Sexual dysfunction

It is important to keep track of your symptoms when you first start
experiencing them, so your doctor can determine the accurate diagnosis,
and properly monitor the disease.

The Differences Between Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis

Fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis are both potentially debilitating
diseases that can lead to chronic pain.

Fibromyalgia is often characterized by muscle pain, stiffness in
muscles, extreme fatigue and difficulty sleeping. Multiple Sclerosis has
a variety of symptoms including visual problems, bladder control issues,
muscle weakness and painful muscle spasms.

There are similarities in some symptoms, and the fact that both diseases
are more common in women than men. As well, neither has a specific cause
known. However, there are massive distinctions between the two diseases
as well.

Although fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis share a few similar
symptoms they are very different conditions. (Blogger’s Note: True, yet they are STILL misdiagnosed!)

It is estimated that approximately five million people in America have
fibromyalgia. Patients complain of widespread muscle pain and
tenderness, generally in areas of the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

Extreme muscle stiffness is often present in the morning, but tends to
fade throughout the day. Many with fibromyalgia experience insomnia and
severe fatigue. Patients also experience headaches, anxiety, depression
and difficulty concentrating.

As already mentioned the cause of fibromyalgia has not been determined,
but researchers believe it is linked to hormonal abnormalities and the
immune system.

According to studies, approximately 300,000 people in the US suffer from
multiple sclerosis. This is a significantly smaller number than those
who are affected by fibromyalgia.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is classified as an autoimmune disorder, while
fibromyalgia is not. An overactive immune system is believed to trigger
an attack on the body and tissue on the spinal cord, which leads to MS

Those who suffer from multiple sclerosis tend to experience blurry
vision, difficulty walking and bladder control issues. MS symptoms tend
to fluctuate over. Unlike fibromyalgia, they are not more intense in the

Diagnosis for both diseases is often done by ruling out other causes.
For fibromyalgia, the tender points are often what lead doctors to their
final diagnosis. For multiple sclerosis, there are various tests
including blood tests, spinal taps and MRIs.

Treatments for Each Condition

The approach in treatment for fibromyalgia is different from that of
multiple sclerosis patients.

Fibromyalgia can often be treated with over-the-counter medications such
as Tylenol or ibuprofen. Lifestyle changes can also help improve the
symptoms of this disease.

These changes may include reducing stress, following a specific sleep
schedule, exercising regularly and decreasing your caffeine intake.

Multiple sclerosis treatment may also include over-the-counter pain
medication, but more often has prescribed medication as well as physical
therapy, speech therapy, stress management and reduction, cognitive
behaviour therapy and acupuncture. Necessary lifestyle changes may
include switching to a low-fat diet, increasing your fiber intake,
stretching and exercising regularly.


While there are a few similarities in the symptoms and treatment of
fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis, the two diseases differ greatly.
Both are life-altering and difficult to diagnosis. Neither has been
given a specific known cause. However, the similarities end there.

Fibromyalgia is much more common than multiple sclerosis affecting
nearly seventeen times the number of people in the United States. MS
affects vision, speech, cognitive behaviour and a person’s ability to
walk, while fibromyalgia does not. Fibromyalgia is characterized by a
musculoskeletal pain, while multiple sclerosis is viewed as an
autoimmune disease.

It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms
related to either of these diseases. Both require immediate attention
and treatment to relieve your pain and discomfort. It is also necessary
to note that it is possible to be diagnosed with both fibromyalgia and
multiple sclerosis.