Medical Consultation

Fibromyalgia

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What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a medical condition, which affects many lives. Patients affected by fibromyalgia suffer from chronic pain which involves different body parts: shoulders, arms, upper and lower back. In addition patients often feel tired, even after a night sleep, waking up unrefreshed. Many patients find it difficult to concentrate, and to be physically active.

These symptoms have a serious negative effect on patients' quality of life, academic achievements, daily function and mood.

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How do you get fibromyalgia?

We are still not sure why some people develop fibromyalgia, while others do not. There seems to be a hereditary factor, because first degree relatives of fibromyalgia patients are at higher risk for developing fibromyalgia. 

Many people with fibromyalgia report experiencing traumatic life events. So we believe that the risk to develop fibromyalgia is 'multifactorial', meaning that it is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

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How is fibromyalgia treated?

No single treatment is considered effective in fibromyalgia.

Most patients are offered a treatment plan, consisting of regular physical activity, physical therapy, medications and psychological support.

Unfortunately, even with the best treatments, many patients continue to suffer symptoms.

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How do you get fibromyalgia?

We're still not sure why some people develop fibromyalgia, while others do not. There seems to be a hereditary factor, because first degree relatives of fibromyalgia patients are at higher risk for developing fibromyalgia. 

Many people with fibromyalgia report experiencing traumatic life events. So we believe that the risk to develop fibromyalgia is 'multifactorial', meaning that it is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

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How is fibromyalgia treated?

No single treatment is considered effective in fibromyalgia.

Most patients are offered a treatment plan, consisting of regular physical activity, physical therapy, medications and psychological support.

Unfortunately, even with the best treatments, many patients continue to suffer symptoms.

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How does the microbiome linked to fibromyalgia?

Our research team has recently been the first to report on a link between the gut microbiome and fibromyalgia.

We found that the gut bacteria is significantly changed in people with fibromyalgia, in ways that could explain some of the symptoms. 

This study takes these findings to the next step, trying to influence the gut microbiome using dietary changes.

Our Study
Study Questions

1) We're looking for dietary interventions that would be treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia by healing the gut microbiome, i.e. the germs living in our body. 

2) We're looking for a link between fibromyalgia and the patients' microbiome, i.e. the germs living in our body. 

Study Procedure

You will be invited for three clinic visits, where you will be examined by a physician expert in fibromyalgia. Then, you will give a urine, a saliva and a blood sample. At home, you will give a stool sample, which will be thoroughly analysed. Then, you will assigned to one of three diets and followed by a team of pain physicians and clinical nutritionists. You will also be asked to give blood and stool samples.

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What is this study about?

The study will take place at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, at Montreal General Hospital.

In this study we explore the efficacy of two dietary interventions for fibromyalgia as well as their effects on the gut microbiome.

The study will take place at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit, at Montreal General Hospital.

In this study we will look into the gut, urine and mouth bacteria (germs) of patients with fibromyalgia.

A second study site is available at the West Island rheumatology clinic, Pointe-Claire.

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Who may join the study?

We're recruiting adult women with fibromyalgia, who are:

  • Otherwise healthy (have no major illnesses);

  • Have not taken antibiotics, have not been sick and have not changed their diet during the last month;

  • Are not pregnant;

  • Do not currently follow a low-FODMAP or gluten-free diet.

We're recruiting four groups of participants:

  • Women aged 30-60 years who have fibromyalgia.

  • Healthy women aged 30-60 years who are first-degree relatives (i.e. mother, sister or daughter) of a woman with fibromyalgia participating in our study.

  • Healthy women and men who live in the same house with a fibromyalgia patient participating in our study.

  • Healthy women aged 30-60.​

  • (Since the gut bacteria are influenced by many factors, like age, gender and ethnicity, we limit the gender and age of participants in the study groups.)

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What will the study include?

The study will include:

  • Three clinic visits to the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit (MUHC)

  • During the first clinic visit, participants will be examined by a leading fibromyalgia expert, will undergo a thorough evaluation, will give a urine, saliva and blood sample, and will be given a stool sample kit.

  • At home participants will fill-in a dietary questionnaire, give a stool sample. 

  • During the second visit, participants will deliver their stool sample and their dietary questionnaires will be reviewed.

  • Following a diet that will be assigned to you for 4 weeks

  • Giving two blood samples (at the clinic) and two stool samples (at home)