According to University of Alabama virologist Carol Duffy, and Tuscaloosa-based GI surgeon/chronic pain specialist William Pridgen, Fibromyalgia and various gastrointestinal disorders may all be caused by a virus – specifically herpes simplex type 1. This conclusion is a result from Dr. Pridgen having noticed particular periodic recurrences of problems among many of his patients with gastrointestinal issues.
With this theory, Dr. Pridgen prescribed drugs to his fibromyalgia patients shown to be effective for treating herpes simplex type 1 (HSV1), the virus that causes ‘cold sores’, and the patients showed positive results. After taking the prescription medicine, patients report that their energy levels were rising and that other problems like depression, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue were improving. Perhaps its ability to mimic symptoms of other illnesses and diseases has made experts call fibromyalgia ‘the Great Imitator.’
Fibromyalgia is often characterized by a crippling pain which can affect one’s everyday life negatively. The illness is known for causing widespread pain in the body where the patient experiences debilitating fatigue making even the smallest task exhausting that one’s day-to-day functioning becomes difficult. Beyond doubt, pain is unavoidable and can cripple a person once it chronic and intense. After fibromyalgia was officially recognized in 1987, medical professionals theorized that the malfunction in the central nervous system specifically on how he brain and nerves process the sensing pain was the main problem. Presently, researchers theorize that the cause of fibromyalgia is herpes simplex virus type 1, which led them to prescribe a drug known to treat HSV-1 along with another antiviral drug, and so far the results were promising.
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 or HSV-1 is just one of the eight member of the Human Herpes virus family more commonly known for causing cold sores of the mouth or oral herpes, as well as infections on the skin, mucous membrane of the mouth and genitals. The virus can be orally contracted during childhood (which they develop immunity), while the HSV-2 is transmitted through contact with an infected area. The cold sores or blisters in the mouth are caused by the reactivation of the virus and like HSV-2 will remain in the person for the host’s entire life. The Herpes Virus Family includes at least 8 viruses which are linked to chicken pox, Epstein Barr and cytomegalovirus with the HSV-1, -2, and -3 attacks the nerves which causes pain.
The explanation behind this is the fact that a virus can become dormant and hide in the nerve cells from the immune system, and then reactivate in some point after a condition has triggered it to resurface on any part of the body. On the other hand, the drugs work together to inhibit the virus from replicating or even reactivating.
Fibromyalgia is truly a puzzle defying the conventional treatments. Studies are ongoing today to probe the connection between herpes viruses to other co-conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Type II Diabetes, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, and more. Interestingly, medical professionals are slowly putting the pieces together especially that of the long suspected that fibromyalgia caused by a viral illness.