In March 2021, Gabrielle Jackson released a book titled “Pain and Prejudice” which I thoroughly recommend. She relates how medicine has been, and largely still is, very male dominated, to the extent that studies of medical conditions that relate to women are much less likely to be done than for male conditions. Even medical testing using mice, has until recently been confined to using male mouse subjects, completely ignoring the different responses relating to females. In particular she highlights a group of poorly researched conditions which afflict huge numbers of women causing them chronic pain over many years, that are difficult to diagnose and cause serious debilitation.
Because of their sometimes, vague nature, plus difficulties many women have in explicitly describing their conditions, they may suffer for many years before being correctly diagnosed by their doctor. In addition the related conditions as described below can create an impression of “hysterical” women always complaining of something vague and have often been too easily dismissed as a result. Often the doctor will only prescribe pain killers.
There are 10 of these overlapping pain conditions that seem to be related, and many sufferers apparently experience a number of these in their lifetime. Listed here:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (myalgic encephalomyelitis)
Temporomandibular disorders (jaw pain)
Chronic low back pain
Chronic tension type headache
Associated with these conditions are a number of auto-immune disorders. These are conditions where the body seems to be attacking itself and seem to be triggered by compounds leaking from the gut into the blood where they cause confusion for the immune system which comes to believe that some good proteins are rogue and must be eliminated. The result is painful conditions which are very hard to treat. Included in this list are:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
These conditions are often linked to depression, anxiety, period pain, myofascial pain syndrome, and restless leg syndrome.
Many of these conditions seem to have no clear treatment and often the best that modern medicine can do is to minimize the pain impact or directly treat the condition by surgically removing problem tissue. There are many drugs prescribed in an attempt to resolve the problems, some of which only provide temporary relief. Gabrielle Jackson herself has suffered from endometriosis over many years and directly relates to the problems she describes.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a medical research paper from 2019 titled “Is Insulin Resistance the cause of fibromyalgia? A preliminary report.” This paper by Pappolla, Manchikanti and Trescot was published in PLoS One, studied a small group of 21 females and 2 males with a history of Fibromyalgia (FM).
They identified a direct correlation between HbA1c scores and the Fibromyalgia and although this is not directly Insulin Resistance (IR), higher HbA1c scores are commonly recognized as a surrogate marker for Insulin Resistance. HbA1c is a measure of the a persons glycation of hemoglobin in red blood cells, over the previous 3 months, which is the direct result of their level of blood glucose.
By treating these patients with Metformin, which decreases glucose production by the liver, by increasing the insulin sensitivity of body tissues thereby helping to lower insulin resistance, they successfully reduced FM pain. They stated that abnormalities likely related to IR, are much more widespread than had previously been appreciated and may be present in most (and perhaps all) patients with FM.
In their conclusion they state “Our data provides preliminary evidence suggesting that Insulin Resistance may be a pathological substratum in FM and sets the stage for future studies to confirm these initial observations. If confirmed, our findings may translate not only into a radical paradigm shift for the management of FM but may also save billions of dollars to healthcare systems around the world”.
I was even further surprised to find that this research paper was “RETRACTED” by the publisher due to some irregularities around the seeking of permission to use the patients data, despite initially agreeing that due to the anonymity of the data, there was no ethical review required. Nothing was identified as wrong with the study itself or the findings, just the ethical question. Why would a study of such significance and which may lead to improved treatment for millions of sufferers world-wide, be withdrawn. A change in treatment as suggested could come at considerable cost to the pharmaceutical companies producing currently used drugs for these conditions and perhaps this was an influence.
Unfortunately because there is no profit to be made by this suggested line of treatment for these conditions, research to further corroborate the findings of the initial paper may not be forthcoming. It is much more profitable to bury or deny this report, despite the huge numbers of women who may gain years of good quality life, from reduced glucose treatments or lifestyles.
If you think you may benefit from this, then listen to the recommendations made by Dr. Ken Berry at the conclusion of his YouTube video referenced below. In addition you might be interested in adopting a low carbohydrate or keto diet for a period to establish if this could also help with your symptoms. Low carbohydrate or keto diets have shown significant benefits to people suffering from a number of the conditions listed above. This style of eating is recognized as a potent self treatment for Insulin Resistance (IR), reducing glucose levels and thereby increasing your insulin sensitivity over time.
For further information:
The study finding Insulin Resistance as an underlying contributor to fibromyalgia.
The Retraction by PLoS One.
Video by Dr Ken Berry identifying this problem
George Elder, Author, “Take Back Your Health”, Available on Amazon