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Research in Fibromyalgia, digestion & the gastrointestinal tract

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Think of the last time you experienced physical pain. Imagine feeling this pain constantly. This is a reality for those living with fibromyalgia.  

Our research aims to enhance our understanding of this condition.

Please click here to make a gift today. 

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, poorly understood and difficult to treat. 

People experiencing fibromyalgia live with constant pain, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems, sleep disturbances and more. It restricts their ability to function normally on many different levels.

The majority of sufferers are women. 

This invisible condition has no obvious disability nor apparent cause, therefore patient experiences are often dismissed. Treatment options are limited and include pain killers, antidepressants and anticonvulsant drugs. No treatment is fully effective and many patients have to live with the symptoms their entire lives.

Here at the University of Sydney, our researchers aim to explore the connection between digestive disorders, the gut microbiome and pain and other symptoms in women with fibromyalgia.

Studies have found that patients have at least one digestive problem, but how these relate to their symptoms is unclear. Often a patient’s symptoms change in relation with digestive function, but no-one knows why.

Our researchers hope to uncover more about this illness and potential new treatments that target the digestive system and its microbiome to improve symptoms and quality of life in people living with fibromyalgia.

Our aim is to investigate whether gut bacteria are connected to other health problems, such as headaches, fatigue, sleep problems and digestive complaints, as well as other symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

We need your support.

To conduct our research we need your help. We aim to take a broad look at the gut microbiome, and how it might be creating the signals that cause or aggravate the symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

How your contribution could help:

  • $60 could cover the cost of a basic blood test or a digestive function test. 
  • $120 could cover all the blood tests for one person involved in the study. 
  • $300 could cover the cost of most necessary medical tests for one participant.

Please make a gift today.

Your donation will support University of Sydney research into fibromyalgia, digestion and the gastrointestinal tract. All donations $2 and above are tax-deductible. If you are not in a position to give, please share this page with your family and friends.

Together, we could improve the lives of those living with fibromyalgia.


Click here to make your donation today. 

Gifts of $2 and above are tax-deductible.

Meet our research team

Sharon Erdrich (MHSc) PhD candidate, Study co-ordinator

Trained nurse, experienced lecturer and presenter. Extensive clinical background and a strong interest in the gut microbiome, particularly as it relates to digestive symptoms and conditions that affect the rest of the body. Has conducted clinical research in the field of nutrition as it relates to prostate cancer.

Dr Joanna Harnett (MHSc, PhD) Principle investigator.

Research supervisor and lecturer at the Sydney Pharmacy School, Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney. Specialises in medicinal complementary medicines. Conducts research in the broader area of complementary medicine/s and nutrition and the gastrointestinal microbiome.


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