Crohn's and Fibromyalgia: What's the Connection?
Fibromyalgia is a painful condition of the bones, muscles and joints. People who suffer with fibromyalgia are usually fatigued. Approximately two percent of the population has this disease. It affects more women than men.
Like Crohn's, fibromyalgia is a chronic disease. There is no known cure and the cause of each disease is still unclear, although researchers believe genetics is a factor in both. Crohn's disease and fibromyalgia are often present together in patients. In fact, the drugs used to treat one disease often make the other worse. Of course, this makes treating the diseases all that more complicated. Researchers don't know yet if the causes of these two diseases are the same.
The recommendations for managing Crohn's and fibromyalgia are similar: eat a balanced diet, try to reduce stress, exercise, don't smoke, and get a good night's sleep.
What the Future Holds
There is some good news for both Crohn's and fibromyalgia patients. A treatment widely used to treat heroin addicts may hold promise for providing relief for sufferers of these chronic diseases. This drug is low-dose Naltrexone (LDN).
LDN is an opiod antagonist, which means it blocks opiod receptors in the body, at least temporarily. Opiods are a class of drugs typically prescribed for pain, such as morphine. The action of LDN is similar to rebooting your computer to clear the memory so you can resume working. LDN also seems to boost the body's own immune system and helps it respond better to pain remedies, including those your body produces.
Doctors report success in treating patients with LDN for a variety of immune-related diseases, including Crohn's and fibromyalgia. In fact, one physician who has used LDN extensively called the results "life changing" for his patients, and said LDN significantly improved his patients' quality of life.
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