The symptoms of fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) are all over the map. Why would one condition cause pain, fatigue, binge eating, self confidence, and abdominal problems? It's confusing and bewildering, not to mention way less than fun to live with!
But all of those seemingly random symptoms just might have something in common - some evidence suggests problems in how your body regulates serotonin. And they're not the only problems related to abnormalities this substance, which is both a neurotransmitter and a type of hormone.
Physical symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue, in spite of adequate rest
- Disturbed sleep
- Either loss of appetite or carb cravings, possibly due to the body's attempt to make more serotonin
- Hot flushes and temperature changes
- Stomach pains
Emotional symptoms include:
- Loss of interest in sex
- Social withdrawal
- Sadness and frequent crying spells
- Low self-esteem and self-confidence
- Loss of personality
- Feeling emotionally sensitive and taking things personally
Serotonin is a regulator, and when it's out of whack, our bodies just aren't regular! Doctors don't generally test you for abnormal serotonin activity (most labs don't offer it, and most insurance companies don't cover it), so it has to be diagnosed based on symptoms.
Probably the most common way to change your serotonin levels is through medication: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Some supplements and your diet can influence serotonin as well. Morning sunlight can help, too. As always, you should work with your doctor to decide which method is best for you!
- More Information: Serotonin Dysregulation in FMS & ME/CFS
How do you try to influence your serotonin level? Leave your comments below!
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