Can a person have both EDS and fibromyalgia?

Recently heard about a geneticist who, several years after having first diagnosed a patient with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, was then asked by that patient about a more recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia.

“Oh, fibromyalgia is just a symptom of EDS,” the geneticist is said to have replied.

So the question is, in the case of a patient with EDS, is it possible to make the distinct diagnosis of fibromyalgia?

I think it’s possible to have discrete fibromyalgia along with Ehlers-Danlos for two reasons. First and most obviously, not everyone with EDS has symptoms consistent with fibromyalgia.

But it’s true that EDS will often cause some very ‘fibro-like’ symptoms, (perhaps as a result of the generally pro-inflammatory state that seems to result from the collagen defect… but that’s a much longer post.) I believe there is likely to be a real distinction because, based on my conversations with EDSers, while they often have diffuse pain, and while that pain is most often accompanied by (usually severe) fatigue, the EDS-type pain and fatigue are much less often associated with other symptoms that frequently accompany fibromyalgia, such as irritable bowel syndrome, extreme sensitivity to lights, sounds, etc., and ‘fibro-fog’. True, none of these associated symptoms is required according to the ACR 1990 diagnostic criteria. But I have yet to speak with a fibromyalgia patient who does not have at least a substantial number of these associated symptoms. Hence my reason for thinking that a person can in fact have both EDS and fibromyalgia as two distinct entities.

3 Responses to Can a person have both EDS and fibromyalgia?
  1. Sandra BECKER
    October 17, 2010 | 4:34 pm

    I have both FMS & EDS (hypermobility type), and psoriasis, an autoimmune disease. My son has autism.

  2. Christie
    January 31, 2012 | 8:16 pm

    That is absolutely not true. There is a fog that accompanies EDS, along with very extreme sensitivity to lights and sound. And digestive disorders/IBS are very, very common in EDS.

  3. Penny Achour
    March 20, 2012 | 4:29 pm

    I have Fybromyalgia and EDS Type 3. I also know of at least three others in my local support group!