• Welcome to Phoenix Rising!

    Created in 2008, Phoenix Rising is the largest and oldest forum dedicated to furthering the understanding of and finding treatments for complex chronic illnesses such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia (FM), long COVID, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), and allied diseases.

    To register, simply click the Register button at the top right.

Bowel Problems in ME/CFS


Senior Member

Bowel problems in ME/CFS

Margaret Williams 9th August 2014

For those battling to convince their permanent health insurers (PHI) that
irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a known component of ME/CFS and that
neither IBS nor ME/CFS is a functional somatic disorder (and thus excluded
from benefit), recent evidence should help dispel any doubt about the
organic nature of their disorder(s).

It is a matter of record that the basis of the Wessely School’s beliefs
about “CFS/ME” upon which the PACE trial was based is that, together with
fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, atypical chest pain and multiple
chemical sensitivity, “CFS/ME” is but one functional somatic syndrome (ie. a
behavioural / somatisation disorder with no grounding in organic pathology)
which, due to an “artefact of medical specialisation”, naïve clinicians fail
to recognise and thus treat as different disorders (S Wessely, C Nimnuan, M
Sharpe, Lancet 1999:354:936-939; S Wessely, Psychol Med 1990:20:35-53). This
is what has been taught to medical students for the last three decades.

Furthermore, during the consultation period for the NICE Clinical Guideline
CG53 on “CFS” that was published in August 2007, Professor Peter White’s
psychiatric unit at St Bartholomew’s Hospital stated: " ‘..gut
anti-spasmodics..’ are not treatments of CFS/ME since bowel symptoms are not
part of CFS/ME” (SH St Bartholomew's Hospital Chronic Fatigue
Services 85 FULL 229

In a study supported by Action for ME, in 1996 it was demonstrated by MJG
Farthing, Professor of Gastroenterology at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, that
there was a prevalence of 63% of IBS in “CFS” sufferers (Journal of the
Royal College of Physicians of London 1996:30:6:512-513). This greatly
exceeds the prevalence of IBS of up to 22% in the general population....
Read full article here.
Last edited by a moderator:


Senior Member
When doctors will start to listen to patients, read the CCC and ICC and use their brains, they won't fail to see that ME/CFS is a systemic inflammatory disease, in which bowel involvement is very much present.
Thank you @dasiymay.


Senior Member
northern Maine
Thanks for this article. I wish the author had explored possible treatments. The only gut treatment offered to me was a colonoscopy, a good treatment for Doctor Poverty Disease. Not so good for relieving gut pain.