Fibromyalgia & Hypoglycemia: Two Separate Illnesses with Overlapping Symptoms.

I am two years into the Guaifenesin Protocol, developed by Dr. St Amand. I feel so much better -most of the time. 

Dr. St Amand discovered that 30% of us also have Hypoglycemia with overlapping symptoms of Fibromyalgia. His patients who do not also treat their Hypoglycemia did not feel much better, even when following the Guaifenesin Protocol exactly. That’s me! Unfortunately, I was too fibro foggy to really understand the importance of treating both when I began the protocol. 

This was not the fault of Dr. Congdon - she diagnosed me with Hypoglycemia on my first office visit based on my labs and follow up questions. In fact, I was experiencing acute Hypoglycemic symptoms during our first appointment. I was severely shaky from not having eaten that day, I couldn’t think straight, my hands were shaking. She noticed the symptoms and handed me her pistachios to get food in me. Within minutes I felt better. She told me that I had to treat my Fibromyalgia and Hypoglycemia to feel better. 

I followed the Hypoglycemic diet perfectly as prescribed for 2 months before slowly reintroducing foods back into my diet to see which I could tolerate. I found that I could tolerate everything, but only in small amounts. One glass of wine was okay, but two weren’t. One-half an English muffin didn't hurt, except that for the rest of the week I craved more. I cheated with corn tortillas, bread and wine in small amounts. The more I cheated, the more I craved. The more inflamed my symptoms became until my primary symptoms of headaches and fatigue came back in full force. If I didn’t stop, I was sure I would become bedridden again. 

I had been mapped recently by Dr. Congdon and had made progress in clearing the nodules, which showed I wasn’t blocking. The Fibromyalgia was reversing. The return of my symptoms was due to Hypoglycemia. 

For those of us following the Guaifenesin Protocol, knowing that we are not blocking the Guaifenesin with salicylates, mint, tea, blue or purple dyes is critical. When we are Fibroglycemic, controlling our Hypoglycemia is also of the utmost importance. This enables us to know which illness the symptoms are related to so we can treat the correct illness.

In Hypoglycemic patients, too much insulin is released after ingesting carbs. Our blood sugar then drops too low setting off adrenaline to keep sugars from dropping too quickly. This usually happens in a couple of minutes, but not in us. The adrenalin causes the symptoms we experience. This usually happens 4-6 hours after eating the offending foods. Heart palpitations and insomnia warn me that I had too many carbs. I made the decision, finally, to only eat foods on Dr. St Amand’s approved food list for hypoglycemia. The symptoms I was experiencing simply were no longer worth an extra few ounces of wine or that half of a sweet potato. I have been rewarded for my efforts by decreased pain, increased energy, no headaches and a slimmer waist line! 

The following are overlapping symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Hypoglycemia as listed by Dr. St Amand in What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia:

  • Chronic Symptoms
  • Fatigue/insomnia
  • Nervousness/depression/irritability
  • Dizziness, faintness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Ringing ears
  • Gas, abdominal cramps, diarrhea
  • Numbness/tingling of hands, feet, face
  • Flushing/sweating
  • Foot/leg cramps
  • Bi-temporal or frontal headaches
  • Impaired memory/concentration
  • Acute Symptoms
  • Heart pounding
  • Palpitations or heart irregularity
  • Panic attacks
  • Nightmares or severe sleep disturbances
  • Faintness or syncope
  • Acute anxiety
  • Hand or inner shaking/tremor
  • Sweating
  • Frontal-area headaches or pressure

With the addition of sugar cravings, weight gain, and generalized muscle stiffness, you now have a complete list of overlapping Fibromyalgia and Hypoglycemia symptoms. 

The standard glucose test for Hypoglycemia is only accurate 50% of the time. The only way to accurately tell if you have Hypoglycemia is to follow Dr. St Amand’s recommended diet for two months.

Good luck, you can do it!

22 Months on Guaifenesin and Feeling Great: A Before-and-After Look

I can hardly explain the difference that the Guaifenesin Protocol has made in my life without providing a glimpse of the before and after.

Keeping a Symptom Journal is of the utmost importance for finding the correct dosage and marking progress. I didn’t follow the Guaifenesin Protocol perfectly; I made mistakes along the way and figured out what to do as I went along.

I still got better. So can you! 

My symptom journal prior to starting the Guaifenesin Protocol in Jan 2015 reads: 

  •      9 medications (3 for pain)
  •      Achey all over
  •      Moderate pain 
  •      Fatigue
  •      Headache 
  •      Neck pain
  •      Feet cramps
  •      Restless leg feeling in hamstring area

Conditions and Symptoms:

  •      Noise and light sensitivity
  •      Ringing in both ears
  •      Chapped lips, dry mouth
  •      Jaw pain
  •      Headache
  •      Shoulder pain and stiffness
  •      Muscle pain and muscle spasms
  •      Congestion
  •      Thirst
  •      Frequent Urination
  •      Constipation
  •      Hot feet
  •      Foot cramps
  •      Skin Blemishes 
  •      Listless Mood

Activity:

  •    Laundry
  •    Walked 10 minutes
  •    Cooked a simple dinner

Today, my Symptom Journal reads:

  •    3 medications - none for pain (just hypothyroidism, high blood pressure and Guaifenesin)
  •    Ache from exercising - a much welcome ache!

Todays Conditions and Symptoms:

   None of the above!

Activity (Every day for the past 11 weeks):

  •    Sleep restoratively
  •    Make bed
  •    Shower, wash and style hair
  •    Applied make-up
  •    Dressed
  •    Cooked breakfast
  •    Washed dishes
  •    Did laundry
  •    Ran errands

Throughout the week, I plan and shop for dinner ingredients and prepare dinner. I assist my Elderly Mother In Law with appointments one to two days per week, walk on my TreadClimber for 30 minutes 3x per week and lift 5 lb weights for upper body. I clean the house in one day whereas I used to clean one room per day, if that. I can hike for up to an hour, whereas I used to only be able to walk my hallway for 5-10 minutes. I used to only be able to be in the car for an hour before having pain and muscle spasms.

Last month my husband and I drove to the Coast for lunch -- It was an 8 hour drive and I drove for 2 hours of it pain and fatigue free. Last weekend my husband was elated when he realized that we could go anywhere we wanted, do anything we wanted, without waiting for me to have a good day or fearing me paying for an outing with a week being bedridden.
  
I am working again! I started a Senior Concierge business with several doctors, a physical therapy office, and a social worker asking for business cards, and already have my first client.

No, it wasn’t easy - but it worked!!!  

Comprehending and following the protocol guidelines were quite difficult in the beginning because I was really sick. I’d become disabled in 2004 by 24/7 headaches, weekly migraines and fibro pain. 

The combination of Fibro-fog and pain medications made understanding anything difficult. I was fortunate that I was able to become a patient of Dr. Melissa Congdon in San Francisco, who also has Fibromyalgia, became well on the Guaifenesin Protocol and trained under the developer of the Guaifenesin Protocol, Dr. R Paul St. Amand of Los Angeles. 

Dr Congdon gave me the book, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia” during our first appointment. She confirmed my diagnosis of FMS and added a diagnosis of Hypoglycemia. This was important because without changing my diet as well as taking the Guaifenesin and avoiding Salicylates, I would be well, but not feel better. She was right, as it took me a year to be very careful with my diet. The fibro-fatigue began clearing up within a couple of weeks of being perfect on my diet. It’s possible that I would have felt well sooner if I had paid more attention to my diet. 

Not everyone who has Fibromyalgia has Hypoglycemia. However, as it is an essential part of the Guaifenesin Protocol, and until there is an accurate test for Hypoglycemia, it is important to try the diet for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference.

I will always need Guaifenesin and the hypoglycemic diet, but I am so grateful they work!