An overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine can cause painful, tender muscles. Fibromyalgia is an extremely common condition, particularly in women. It is especially prevalent in women with autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, as well as postmenopausal women. It causes painful muscles and tenderness at certain points when pressure is applied. Most people with the condition also experience fatigue, depression, and brain fog. After arthritis, it is the second most common musculoskeletal condition.

Conventional medical treatment doesn’t have a lot to offer; pain relievers, antidepressants and drugs used for epilepsy (e.g. Lyrica) are most commonly prescribed; all with a range of undesirable side effects. For many years I’ve seen that a lot of my fibromyalgia patients experience gut symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, reflux or abdominal bloating. Even if they don’t have those symptoms, when sent off for tests, they are often found to have an imbalance between good and bad bowel bacteria.

Recently, a study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles found that one hundred percent of the fibromyalgia patients studied were found to have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is a huge deal because so much can be done to restore the balance of gut bacteria and relieve the fibromyalgia. SIBO simply means there is too much bacteria present in the wrong location. We all have approximately three pounds of bacteria in our intestines; most of it is supposed to be in the large intestine. If too much bacteria travels up into the small intestine it creates a problem because the bacteria inflames the gut wall and creates leaky gut. This causes the absorption of bowel toxins into systemic circulation. The toxins can travel to any part of the body and create inflammation there. Fibromyalgia is a common consequence.

Fixing SIBO involves the use of herbal antimicrobials and sometimes a low FODMAP diet. The herbs oregano, cloves, thyme and berberine are particularly beneficial for helping to eradicate SIBO. These herbs are found in BactoClear capsules. Changing your diet is essential. It is important to stop consuming sugar and highly refined carbohydrates like white flour. Some people need to restrict fermentable carbohydrates for a period of time by going on a low FODMAP diet.

It is vital to improve digestive function, as people with SIBO usually don’t produce enough hydrochloric acid in their stomach and they do not produce enough digestive enzymes. Taking betaine hydrochloride in supplement form, as well as digestive enzymes can offer great relief from digestive problems, and it can help to prevent the SIBO from returning after it has been successfully treated.

Some people with SIBO experience significant constipation. This is sometimes due to excess levels of methane-producing bacteria in the gut, which interferes with normal intestinal peristalsis. A natural laxative such as Colon Detox capsules can be very helpful. It is also important to keep sugary foods in the diet to a minimum. Some people find they need to restrict high FODMAP foods like onion, garlic and cabbage long term.

See our book Healing Autoimmune Disease for information.


The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.