12 In all/ Health & Wellness

Gambling On Vagus ~ 3 Easy Steps To Aid Slow Digestion In Fibromyalgia

One of the many possible symptoms you may face with Fibromyalgia, is a slower than average digestion process.

When food is eaten, muscles in the stomach go to work in order to push the food through the upper intestines into the lower. There is a nerve that connects the brain stem to the body called the ‘vagus nerve’.

This nerve forms a part of the ‘involuntary nervous system’, and regulates unconscious functions within the body, such as heart rate and digestion.


If you remember from this previous post describing the two different parts of the nervous system, and they’re effects on the body with Fibromyalgia,  the ‘sympathetic’ nervous system is running on overdrive, causing the ‘unsympathetic’ nervous system to function sluggishly.

The reason for the unbalance between the two nervous system functions, could be because in Fibromyalgia, the vagus nerve is compromised.  Certain conditions may be causing the vagus nerve to send signals to the brain that there are conditions present to warrant an increase in pain signals, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue in patients suffering from Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME.

3 steps to aid slow digestion in Fibromyalgia

So, needless to say, when the vagus nerve is malfunctioning, digestion issues can arise.  One of these is called gastroparesis.  Due to the stomach muscles not working properly (and remember FMS targets muscles, so why not those in the stomach?), food will sit in the upper intestine fermenting and digesting at a snail’s pace.

So, what does this all mean?  Well, it means if like me, you feel full on a scant bit of food, burp your way through the day and night, experience bouts of nausea after eating, and have the feeling that your last meal is still stuck in the mid-ribcage region of your chest, you may be dealing with slow digestion.

~ 3 Easy Step To Aid In Slow Digestion ~

 1. Never eat until you feel clear hunger signals.  Learn to listen to the messages your body sends you.  You will feel a ‘tightening’ of the stomach muscles, and a ‘rumble’ in your belly.  You may think it’s easier to overeat when you are hungry, but the truth is, when you start on ’empty’,  you will be able to better recognize when the brain sends ‘fullness’ signals to let you know the body has had enough food and to STOP eating.  Keep in mind, it takes approx. 20 min. for brain to send the satiated message,  so, ‘Slow As You Go’!
2. Chew, Chew, Chew… Make sure to ‘overchew’ your food.  This is the beginning of the digestive process, so it is imperative to not have unchewed pieces of food entering into the upper intestine.
3. Take Small Bites.  This helps you to slow down when you eat, which will in turn help with the above tip.  It’s easier to chew properly when there is less food in your mouth.  Try to also put the fork down between bites.

Providing your digestive issues are not severe enough for medication or surgery, these tips should go a long way in taking your digestion from ‘sloth-like’ to ‘cheetah-fast’.

*Check out this incredible giveaway at my friend Donna’s website over at ‘February Stars’!  This would be an excellent addition to your daily Fibro diet!

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  • Reply
    Chronic Mom
    March 9 at 11:21 am

    I never even knew this was a thing, interesting!

    • Reply
      March 9 at 12:18 pm

      I know right?! Very interesting research happening right now on the vagus nerve, viruses, and Fibromyalgia/CFS/ME. Always something new to learn with this disease! 🙂

      • Reply
        March 11 at 10:59 pm

        I also have FM and I had to do a test for gastro paresis. They made me eat radioactive eggs to see how slow/fast my food was going through me. They found that I had gastro paresis as well. Very interesting to see your post about this being a thing with FM.

        • Reply
          March 12 at 8:31 am

          Thank you Cherry! I know, I just came acrosss this info while doing research on my slow digestion, and whether it was related to my FMS. (Radioactive eggs?!) Ewww! 😉 How are you treating the gastro, and is it helping?

  • Reply
    March 9 at 9:10 pm

    Hmm, that explains quite a bit now. Probably a wrong diagnosis of acid reflux as well. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Reply
      March 9 at 9:20 pm

      You are welcome Yvonne! My next post will go into detail a little more i.e., IBS vs. Gastroparesis.
      Thanks for stoppin’ 🙂

  • Reply
    Deborah Davis
    March 14 at 3:19 pm

    This information was very helpful and enlightening. Thank you for sharing these 3 Easy Steps To Aid Slow Digestion In Fibromyalgia at the Healthy Happy Green Natural Party! I’m Pinning and sharing this!

  • Reply
    Amanda @ The Kolb Corner
    March 16 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing with us at Merry Monday!
    Amanda @ The Kolb Corner recently posted…4 Reasons You Are Failing at Meal PlanningMy Profile

  • Reply
    Brandi Clevinger
    March 18 at 4:34 am

    Oh, my word, Kristine! You have just solved my stomach issues for me. I’m so serious! For over a year I’ve been experiencing these stomach issues – full after a few bites, nausea after eating, gas always and always, and a full knotted feeling just below my breast bone. I’ve finally gotten so tired of it, that I made an appointment with my physician. I’m going to talk to him about this next week. In the meantime, I’m going to try your suggestions and see if I notice a change. Thank you, thank you!!
    Brandi Clevinger recently posted…One Simple Way to Make Pill Taking EasierMy Profile

    • Reply
      March 18 at 10:19 am

      Awesome! You are so welcome Brandi! I know exactly what you mean, it gets aggravating having the ‘full’ ‘undigested food’ feeling all the time. Let me know what the doctor says, it will be interesting to hear what he says 🙂

  • Reply
    Chronic Friday Linkup 11 - Being Fibro Mom
    March 18 at 5:34 am

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