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Papers of the Week

Papers: 17 Jun 2023 - 23 Jun 2023


Human Studies

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Musculoskeletal Pain, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jun 22



The Prevalence and Nature of Eating and Swallowing Problems in Adults with Fibromyalgia: A Systematic Review.


Gilheaney Ó, Chadwick A


Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic pain condition characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and sleep disturbances. People with fibromyalgia can experience both autonomic and somatic disturbances, cognitive and mental health symptoms, and hypersensitivity to external stimuli. Fibromyalgia often co-occurs with a range of well-researched comorbidities (e.g., temporomandibular disorders, migraine, and irritable bowel syndrome). However, emerging research suggests that individuals with fibromyalgia also often experience eating, drinking, and swallowing problems (e.g., odynophagia, glossodynia, etc.). However, there is very little known about these issues, their psychosocial impact, or the best means of managing them clinically. As such, the aim of this research was to examine the epidemiology, prevalence and nature of eating and swallowing problems in adults with fibromyalgia as reported within previous research. A systematic search of electronic databases, selected conference proceedings, and reference lists was completed in March 2021, with no date or language restrictions. Studies reporting the presence and nature of eating and drinking problems in this cohort were included. Eligibility was assessed by two independent reviewers who also critically appraised the included studies using the Joanna Briggs Tool. This literature search yielded a total of 38 potentially eligible studies, with 6 studies included in analysis. Studies were highly heterogeneous in methodology and design, with meta-analysis showing that dysphagia and GERD are prevalent in fibromyalgia patients (51.9% and 25.9%, respectively), among other issues. From review of existing literature, eating and swallowing problems appear to be common among adults with fibromyalgia, with potential additional repercussions for activity, participation, and quality of life. Further research is required to prospectively investigate these issues, with patient and public involvement necessary to guide impactful research planning.