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An article from the University of Washington, Seattle shows that fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, temporomandibular joint syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis and chronic headaches share the same symptoms, occur in the same people and doctors can't find a cause or treatment.

When doctors can't find a cause for a disease, they give it a fancy name. These six different pain syndromes do not have consistent symptoms, physical findings or laboratory abnormalities. They are often associated with a high degree of depression. Fibromyalgia means the main symptom is a person's muscles and joints hurt; temporomandibular joint syndrome means that the chewing joint hurts; irritable bowel means that colon hurts; interstitial cystitis means that bladder hurts; and chronic headache syndrome means the head hurts. Such people need tests for arthritis, hidden infection, tumor, nutrient deficiencies, drug or chemical poisoning, autoimmune disorders and depression. If no cause is found, doctors should admit they don't know the cause of the symptoms.

If a doctor gives you one of these diagnoses, you should request tests for the conditions listed above and, if all the tests are negative, ask him why he cannot find a cause. Twenty percent of the patients with no other identified cause may improve dramatically with long-term antibiotics such as doxycycline or minocycline, even though no specific infection has been identified.

Checked 8/9/05

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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