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Adrienne Dellwo

Is Fibromyalgia Hereditary?

By October 27, 2011

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It's something you come across a lot in the fibromyalgia patient community -- several people in one family who have the illness. It's quite common to have someone who's newly diagnosed say their mother, grandmother, an aunt and a cousin have had it for years.

So does that mean fibromyalgia is a genetic illness? Do we inherit it from our parents?

If you've been reading about fibromyalgia for awhile, you probably know there are few decisive answers, and this one is no exception. The short answer is, "Not exactly, but probably somewhat."

For the longer answer, see:

Is fibromyalgia common in your family? How many people have it? Leave your comments below!

Learn more or join the conversation!

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Comments
October 27, 2011 at 7:03 am
(1) Shannon says:

I have an Aunt on my father’s side who has Fibromyalgia. I do not know of anyone else in my family who has been diagnosed. But I do wonder if my father’s mother had it. She was reportedly a “hypochondriac” and I’m told she overdosed on pain pills. Given what I now know about the debilitating daily pain in living with Fibromyalgia, I often wonder if my Grandmother was sadly misunderstood or never believed to be suffering with the things she said she did. And that makes me so sad. Perhaps I should ask my Aunt about that.

October 27, 2011 at 10:09 am
(2) Debbie says:

Both my sister and I have it. We are pretty sure that my mother had it, as I don’t remember a time my mother hasn’t been in pain.

November 1, 2011 at 7:45 am
(3) Marta says:

Ohmigosh…my sister and I both have it, too. Mine stemmed from a car accident (maybe) that my mom and I were both in when I was age 16. I was Dx’d at age 44 after 20 years of assorted pain. Later, my one sibling, my sister was Dx’d. Looking back, we both believe our mom had it. My daughter
was D’xd at age 27. She is 40 now. We all have various vitamins, exercises and meds. using distraction with hobbies
has helped me the most. I used to be in bed all the time. Doctor sent me to rehab. I never want to go back to that.

October 27, 2011 at 10:17 am
(4) gareth says:

well my dad has been diagnosed with it…

October 27, 2011 at 11:37 am
(5) Jana says:

I have fibro, my husband has it and our daughter.Does it run in families? I believe so.

October 27, 2011 at 7:47 pm
(6) Abot Bensussen says:

My dad had it very bad. Never able to really sleep, just dozing off in his barco lounger. Lived on Percodan. I live on oxycodone and have been sick for many years, (30) that I’m aware of.

My father’s mother was unfriendly, never felt well, complained a good deal about her joint pains. Rheumatism, I think they called it. Now my older son, was beginning not to sleep and he died at 43 years of age. I believe he was starting to get fibromyalgia, the first thing being he wasn’t sleeping. I wish I had been able to help him, but he lived in Israel and it was just so far to visit.

I’m sure it’s in my family, it’s genetic, it’s dangerous! Now that I can sleep at night, (with Xyrem), I am feeling much better and having less pain. Those all-over body aches that don’t stop for anything, are gone. I do use pain meds, but also take pilates, Feldenkrais, Yoga, and other exercises, to keep strong and flexible.

October 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm
(7) Paul B says:

I have an uncle, and 3 cousins on my father’s side, and many people on my mother’s side of the family who all have fibromyalgia. My sister seems to have avoided all the family illnesses (fibro, diabetes, ddd, high blood pressure, heart disease), but I got all of them.

The fibro is not the main problem I have, but it defiantly complicates the other problems.

October 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm
(8) typingterror says:

My father had rheumatism and mother with such severe rheumatoid arthritis that her fingers were deformed and would break open. Alcoholism heavy in family so the drunks haven’t a clue if they have anything. I am the black sheep in family because I do not drink any alcohol.

October 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm
(9) AIDAN WALSH says:

I WAS TOLD ONCE BY DR CHARLES STRATTON THE REASONS IT IS FOUND IN FAMILY MEMBERS AS WELL AS FRIENDS IS C. PNEUMONAIE IS AN AIR BORNE BACTERIAL INFECTION AND HIS RESEARCH ALLSO SHOWS MOTHER CAN PASS IT ON AT BIRTH AND AN EVENT SUCH AS A TRAUMA BRINGS OUT THIS INFECTION AS IT SURVIVES ON INFLAMATION IN THE BODY… ALSO ANOTHER PALUSIBLE REASON IN SOME WHO HAVE BEEN MISDIAGNOSED IS ‘CONGENITAL CHIARI 1 MALFORMATION’ AND ALSO ITS RELATION TO STENOSIS OF THE SPINAL CHORD…IS C. PNEUMONAIE RESPONSIBLE FOR CHIARI IN PREDISPOSED PEOPLE AND THAT ANSWER IS HIGHLY VERY LIKELY…I SAW RECENTLY A VERY INTERESTING ARCTICLE ON PROPER PROCEDURES OF A DIAGNOSIS IN CHIARI… IT IS HERE ‘NEURALLY MEDIATED HYPOTENSION 2005′ AND THIS ALSO COULD BE THE SOLE REASON WHY JOHNS HOPKINS MEDS FAILED FOR SYNCOPE TILT TABLE TESTING SUCH AS ATENOLOL AND FLORINEF OR EVEN WHY SALT INCREASES DOES NOT COMPLETELY CORRECT THE SITUATION…IT ALSO VERY HIGHLY EXPLAINS THE FREQUENT URINATION AND IDENTICAL SYMPTOMS BETWEEN CHIARI AND CFS/FIBRO…I HAVE ALSO READ NUMEROUS REPORTS OF COMPLETE FULL RECOVERIES AND ALSO SOME FAILURES WHICH IS CONSISTENT IN CHIARI MALFORMATION SURGERIES….IS CFS/FIBRO ACTUALLY CHIARI AND/OR STENOSIS? SOME NEURO SURGEONS AND ALSO CHIROPRACTERS BELIEVE IT IS THE COMPLETE PICTURE…WHO KNOWS MAYBE WHAT APEARED WAS THOUGHT TO BE AN INFECTION AND HAS GONE OR THERE NEVER WAS AN INFECTION IN THE FIRST PLACE AND AN INJURY IN SUSEPTIBLE PEOPLE STARTED THE CASCADE OF AN UNDIAGNOSED ILLNESS AND DOCTORS PUSHED PEOPLE ACROSS TO A WASTE BASKET TYPE DIAGNOSIS…I KNOW FOR A FACT NOW THAT MONTREAL SAID MY MRI WAS NORMAL AND A MIAMI NEUROLOGIST SAID THESE EXACT WORDS, ‘YOUR MRI IS NOT NORMAL I CAN SEE PROBLEMS IN THE VENTRICLE AREA AND THE MENINGES AND SAID I AM NOW HAVING YOU BACK TOMORROW MORNING FOR AN EMERGENCY L.P.’ AND HE WAS RIGHT AND IT WAS THE HIGHEST EVER RECORDED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI AND HE ALSO SAID THESE WORDS, ‘NO WONDER YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS GOING ABSOLUTELY CRAZY…

October 29, 2011 at 9:09 am
(10) Di says:

I am certain that your post has some very worthwhile information, however, when you use capitals to write your post I find it very difficult to read and give up after a couple of lines.
Find the other posts much easier to read.

October 28, 2011 at 4:03 pm
(11) Cheryl says:

I do believe that FMS is genetic. My Grandmother, Mother, myself and my younger daughter have all had and/or have it. In my personal opinion ,it can be passed along through heredity.

October 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(12) Jen says:

My mother has fibromyalgia and has also taken Synthroid for her thyroid most of her adult life. I have had fibro for over 25 years. I got CFS/ME in 2006. My oldest daughter has fibro, plus her thyroid burned up from Hashimotoes Disease and had to have her throid taken out. She also has Lupus. In the last year her oldest daughter, age 18, (my granddaughter) has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I pray that some day there will be a cure, or medicine that will put it into remission. I hope I don’t see my great-grandchildren with it. Hereditary, I sure think so!

October 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm
(13) Lucy says:

After a long career in nursing, I know anything is possible but I will be very surprised if they ever find a fibro gene. I think there is probably a genetic basis for most disease. You don’t inherit your father’s cardivascular disease but you do have the genetic framework to develop it, especially if you ignore the lifestyle triggers.
So, while there may be several members of the family who have fibro, I don’t think you get it from your parents. I think the succeptibility is there and given the right exposures or events, you are more likely to develop it than someone with zero family history.
I think that constant high stress plays a big role due to the constant elevation of cortisol and other stress hormones. I hope that researchers look at this more and find ways to help mitigate stressors.
I was an ICU nurse for 30 years, (trauma, NICU, etc.) came from an abusive, highly dysfunctional family with an alcoholic, bipolar mother, went through a divorce, single parenthood, and multiple health issues. To the best of my knowledge, no one else in the family has it. I kinda figure I earned my fibro.

October 28, 2011 at 11:22 pm
(14) Janet says:

I have FM, arthritis, sjögrens and currently investigating hypothyroid. My sister has CFS/ME, FM. My mother had RA, polymylagia rheumatica, osteoporosis, pericarditis. He sister had Graves (hyperthyroid) and arthritis. My grandmother complained of “rheumatism” and my memory of her hands is one of misshapen joints so she too may have had RA. She was famous in the family for being sick/hypochondriac. I was interested to learn the other day that TB in family history may have some bearing on fibro and other autoimmune conditions – my great grandfather died of TB in the late 1800s and TB was a common disorder here in my home state until the late 1960s. Has anyone else heard of this connection?

October 30, 2011 at 10:20 am
(15) naomi says:

Interesting theory about TB, I two great grandfathers who died of TB, one on each side. I have a cousin who I think has fibro, my mother complained of generalized pain throughout her 40′s and 50′s, developed RA in her 60′s and died of cancer in her late 60′s, her mother died of breast cancer in her 40′s and father died of cancer in his late 50′s. A double cousin of mine died of amyloidosis at 57, the same age as his grandfather, his sister died in early 50′s subsequent to infection hidden by prednisone she was taking for an auto immune skin disorder. I also have hypothyroidism as do two of my daughters. There appears to be something genetic going on somewhere.

October 29, 2011 at 1:31 am
(16) Lin says:

I had a Fibro support group for many years until all my health problems got so bad it could not do it and no one else wanted to help. I do believe the Fibro in hereditary because I have it, my daughter has it, my grandson and his son have it and I also have a granddaughter that has it and the pain as bad as I do and now we think that her son may have it as well. I know that it is rare for males to have it but I am beginning to see more men being diagnosed with it only because we are learning more about Fibromyalgia and the other conditions it causes.

October 29, 2011 at 3:23 pm
(17) Margaret says:

Of the four sisters in my family, three of us have fibromyalgia. The one who doesn’t has gotten regular chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture care since her late 20′s…I don’t know if that protected her in any way. My daughter and niece also have it.

October 29, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(18) jody says:

in my family you were taught to NOT talk about pain, illness, sickness, feeling tired. We were taught to only talk about the “happy” things. And “sickies” were mentally dysfunctional, delusional, attentioin seekers. I do observe some characteristics of not only MF, in my family but of addiction, dysfunction, to name a few, but “we dont’ talk about it”… well I do! It’s not a popularity contest after all, is it?

October 30, 2011 at 6:18 am
(19) Natasha says:

Has anyone seen a genetic link for FM to MS? My mum and I hav FM and it now looks like I hav MS. I have a friend who’s mum also has FM and she has MS. Just wondering if anyone else has seen this link?

November 2, 2011 at 3:48 am
(20) Dollar.SA says:

My mum sister used to say ever since she can remember not a single day she was out of pain. she used to at Girl school and her father will be called to pick her up to the Dr because of back pain. she was told that she will never have children because of back pain lucky she has six children. Now she is 88 yrs but still in pain the once told her she has arthritis that’s the onlt thing we know.

when i was diagonise with FBM some years ago i did not think of her only know. i always buy the same supplement for her like mine. I am only 38 yrs but suffered enough since 12 yrs. i was called juvenile arthritis then.

thank you for all the information, i k

November 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm
(21) Nicole says:

My grandmother, my mother, my sister, and myself (and we suspect my great-grandmother had it as well, b/c of her complaints and symptoms, but Fibro didn’t “excist” then), all have Fibro, w/ the symptoms starting earlier and earlier w/ each generation. My sister and I started having symptoms around age 16. My mother didn’t start having symptoms till she was about 40.

November 8, 2011 at 12:14 am
(22) MommyVanRheen says:

My Mom had Fibro, symptoms started at age 26 and was dx’d a few years later. Back then it wasn’t a well known dieases and there was not a whole lot of treatment options. At the age of 43 my mom passed due to the narcotics used to treat her pain symptoms. This was very hard for my 3 siblings and myself to watch growing because she was in constant pain. Now years later my older brother was dx’d at age 27 and I was recently dx’d and am 26 years old. Do I believe that my mom passed it on to me?? Maybe not, but do I believe that it has something to do with genetics more then likely. How could so many people in one family end up with the same problem and it not have something to do with blood line??

November 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm
(23) kamadj22 says:

Reading all these above comments just brings me to tears. Im 28 yrs old and for as long as I can remember my mother has been suffering from constant pain. She has been diagnosed with FBM for many yrs now and also osteoarthritis. The amount of pills she takes is insane. And still, she complains nothing works! I dont want to believe I have FMB but I cant explain the pain that I feel on a daily basis for no apparent reason. It truly sucks but I will continuing fighting so I can be pain free. That will not be my fate God willingly. Stay strong all.

December 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm
(24) Merle says:

Wow i was diagnosed a couple of years ago after being diagnosed with a lot of different things (tennis elbow, golf elbow, arthritis in lower back,) but when I had trouble holding things and unable to lift my new grandson i went back and was diagnosed by specialist saying that i had Fibromyalgia. I have just learnt that my estranged brother and his wife both have fibromyalgia. On hearing this I am beginning to think that yes it is hereditry. As my brother and I have the same mother and father (mother married 3 times) i am thinking that either one of them could have had it. I did not know my father and as they have both passed away i have no way of checking. But it sure makes you think….

February 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm
(25) Nancy Baumgartner says:

“Fibromyalgia” is often caused by Borrelia Burghdorferi- Bb- often called Lyme Disease. Yes, it can be passed from mother to baby. See ILADS website for more information.

July 21, 2012 at 11:03 am
(26) sharon says:

My Aunt has it and i am in constant pain, the doctors have diagnosed me from this to that, yet they wont listen to me about my Aunt. She also has pre-osteoperosis…..time to get new doctors and i have severe depression. Reading all your comments was very helpful, thank you for sharig!

August 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm
(27) Riki says:

Both my mother and I have it we’ve never been dianosed my mother went to the doctor about her pain and they said she was depressed they put her on medication for it that made her walk in to walls so they said your not depressed but we don’t know whats wrong with you so in other words deal with it. its even heard to make doctors believe that your have it because there is not visable symptoms.

August 26, 2012 at 3:41 pm
(28) Bobbi says:

I have just been Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 3 days ago, My mother had ME/CFS. I looked up here to find out for my daughters ,aged 19 and 12, if Fibro is hereditary or not and From what i have read they may have a hard road ahead too. Especially as i ticked every box in the symptoms list and have for the past 3 to4 years it has taken this long to find the right doctor to see the whole picture and not treat me like a drug hungry hypercondratic. Some of the symptoms I have had for most of my life, like Graves disease i had when i 8 yrs old thyroid removed at 16 with a huge goitre growth, went from hyperthyroid to hypothyroid at aged 20 and have had constant medication changes ever since. Aches and pains in my muscles and joints have been a contstant unwanted compainion for most of my life but at the age of 44 i cant really be told they are growing pains anymore.
Now with this diagnosis i understand why i feel the way i feel and that is a kind of a relief, i know what it is i am fighting, IT has a Name.
Thank you Everyone for your stories it helped in my Journey to find some answers :)

October 2, 2012 at 5:04 pm
(29) Shelly says:

My mom and my younger sister have both been diagnosed, I am starting to wonder about myself I have not been diagnosed but have all the same complaints.

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