Opinion: Is Fibromyalgia an Outdated, Mysogynistic Diagnosis?

From my own experience and research, I believe that it is. 

I feel very strongly about this issue because I was mistakenly misdiagnosed with Fibromyalgia by a prestigious institution based on my answers to a questionnaire, even though I tried multiple times to various people that those answers were inaccurate when taken at face value and required explanations that were not an option on the form and that the questions I answered accurately, which could apply to symptoms of Fibromyalgia were due to injuries, a diagnosis of hypermobility/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, muscle soreness from exercise, temporary insomnia due to post-menopausal hormonal issues and the fact that I participate in a rather extreme sport six to eight hours a week. The National Institute of Health states that a Fibromyalgia label does not apply when “a somatic disease sufficiently explaining the symptoms is excluded”. 


  • There are no definitive tests for Fibromyalgia and it isn’t uncommon for people labeled with it to have lab test results in the normal range.  Variations of the symptoms have been discussed as a possible syndrome as early as 1592, including conditions that would include arthritis. From the early 1800’s to just a few decades ago, the condition was labeled Fibrocytis, though few could agree on the exact symptoms or origin, but it was often linked to stress. In 1968, physician Eugene F. Traut described a condition that most closely resembles the condition we recognize today as Fibromyalgia. He listed
  • Female predominance
  • Generalized aching and stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Colitis
  • Poor sleep
  • Being “worry worts”
  • Tender points discovered by physical exam
  • An important mind-body connection

There is also mention in some articles on the subject about people who requested frequent medical testing.

Today the label or “diagnosis” of Fibromyalgia (also sometimes called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS) is given to people, mostly women, who have some of the following symptoms, often regardless of the physical or psychological causes:

Pain and stiffness all over the body

Fatigue and tiredness

Depression and anxiety

Sleep problems

Chemical sensitivities

Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration

Headaches, including migraines

Environmental sensitivities

Tingling or numbness in hands and feet

Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ)

Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Conditions that also share these symptoms but with testable diagnostic criteria include:

Lyme Disease

Hypemobility/Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Chemical and heavy metal exposure

Mold toxicity

Multiple Sclerosis


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Thyroid disease

Autoimmune conditions


Fibromyalgia is not recognized by everyone in the medical community and it can be a controversial subject. A very real concern is that once someone is labeled with Fibromyalgia, attempts to diagnose the true root causes and underlying conditions will be halted. 

A number of medical professionals have linked a syndrome known as Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS) with Fibromalgia and some have said that the terms can be used interchangeably.  In my opinion and experience, I believe that this may be an attempt to assign a root cause to a “diagnosis” without a recognized root cause.  An article in a Rheumatology Journal identifies many types of CSS, with Fibromyalgia being only one example

CSS is identified as an overreaction by the central nervous system to harmless or mild stimulation, causing great pain. I find this definition demeaning and dismissive. As a Licensed Counselor for over thirty yeatrs, I recognize that the nervous system can be quite sensitive and overstimulated and that psychological, emotional or even spiritual root causes can lead to CSS but making a blanket assumption that something like sensitivity to chemical exposure is a harmless stimulation is insulting. I am also concerned that if people are diagnosed with CSS, that just like Fibromyalgia, the root cause or contributing factors will not be identified and treated.

Extreme sensitivity of the nervous system can be caused or contributed to by many conditions including:

Trauma and PTSD

Chronic Illness and Pain

Autoimmune conditions

Frequent injury or infections

Gut bacterial imbalance

Nutritional deficiencies

Eating Disorders

Mood disorders

Hormone imbalance

Histamine sensitivity and Mast Cell Disorder

Intense stress, from a variety of conditions including abusive relationships

I believe that root cause medicine is the only way to effectively diagnose and treat and that all root causes should be considered, physical, emotional, and spiritual. If you need help discovering and treating the ROOT CAUSES of your symptoms, make an appointment on my website and get a copy of my book Heal from Within.



Katie Beecher, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Medical and Emotional Intuitive with over thirty years of experience. Katie is featured in over 200 media outlets including Goop, Kourtney Kardashian’s website Poosh and Miranda Kerr’s Kora Organics Blog and has taught a weeklong workshop at the Omega Institute.  She has a unique way of working with clients, creating a detailed, individualized, physical, emotional, and spiritual report and symbolic painting, before ever seeing them, talking with them or seeing a photograph, using only their name and age.   

Katie’s first book, Heal from Within: An Intuitive Guide to Wellness is published by St. Martin’s Press. Using practical tools and techniques Katie uses in her own medical and spiritual intuitive readings, the book teaches you to be your own medical intuitive using Katie’s revolutionary, step-by-step process for connecting to intuition and spirit, finding self-love and empowerment as well as how to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Heal from Within is filled with remarkable stories of healing from her years of experience as well as her own healing from bulimia, Lyme disease and depression.

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