How does fibromyalgia affect my endocrine system?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
You could just as easily flip the question  and ask: How does my endocrine system affect my fibromyalgia? There are clues from studies that fibromyalgia and the endocrine system may be linked. But how is still unclear.

The endocrine system is made up of various glands, which are organs that produce hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that make things happen in the body. Studies show that people with fibromyalgia often (though not always) have low levels of certain hormones, including those produced by the thyroid, adrenal, and pituitary glands. Also, some women with fibromyalgia experience a worsening of symptoms at times when their hormone levels fluctuate, such as before having their periods and as they enter menopause.

So does this mean low hormone levels cause fibromyalgia? Or does having fibromyalgia dampen activity in certain glands? Nobody knows, but research continues.
In fibromyalgia, disturbance of the endocrine system has been shown. Special glands throughout the body help control and release hormones that help the body adapt to stressful situations and other body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, and energy storage and usage. Normally, under stressful conditions, these glands will stimulate the body to release stress hormones to help our bodies adapt. In fibromyalgia, it appears that these glands do not sufficiently activate and may help explain the symptoms of fatigue, muscle stiffness, and poor sleep.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.