“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.