Growth Hormone Therapy
Much debate has gone on about the cause of fibromyalgia syndrome, and a number of theories as to its origins have been proposed. Recently, low growth hormone production has been pinpointed as a possible cause for the terrible fibromyalgia symptoms associated with the disorder. As a result, some fibromyalgia sufferers are now pursuing growth hormone therapy in order to reduce the intensity of their symptoms. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia syndrome and are interested in pursuing this treatment, read on to find out more about the ins and outs of growth hormone therapy.
What is Growth Hormone?
In order to grow, develop, and repair itself, your body produces a special hormone, called natural human growth hormone (GH). Everybody has this hormone; without it, we wouldn’t be able to grow in height, develop strength, or renew lost cells. GH is also responsible for other bodily processes, including managing metabolism. As you grow older, the amount of GH that your body produces will gradually decrease – this is why you see less growth, bone development, and energy as you age.
Some children are born with genetic disorders which limit the amount of GH they can produce. This lack of GH has astounding effects on their physical growth and development. It also causes symptoms that are very similar to those of fibromyalgia including: muscle weakness, chronic pain, fatigue, and hypersensitivity to the cold.
How Growth Hormone Works
GH is secreted in a special area of the brain, called the pituitary gland. In order to work its magic on your body, GH must travel to the bloodstream. A special hormone called growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) prompts the pituitary gland to release the GH into the bloodstream. The GH then travels through the blood until it reaches your liver. Once it reaches the liver, GH works to stimulate another hormone, called IGF-1. It is this hormone that actually does most of the repair work on your body. As levels of IGF-1 increase in your bloodstream, levels of GH begin to decline. Eventually, the whole process begins again.
Growth Hormones and Fibromyalgia
In the past ten years, it has been discovered that about 30% of all fibromyalgia sufferers have abnormally low levels of IGF-1 in their bloodstreams. Because GH is needed to produce IGF-1, this means that people with fibromyalgia also have very low levels of GH in their bloodstreams. It is theorized that this lack of GH may be the cause of many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Because they don’t have adequate amounts of growth hormone, people with fibromyalgia just don’t have the resources to repair their bodies. As a result, they experience chronic and severe pain.
Treating Growth Hormone Deficiency in Fibromyalgia Sufferers
Now that growth hormone deficiency has been pinpointed in many fibromyalgia sufferers, various growth hormone therapies have been developed to help alleviate the symptoms of the illness.
Some researchers believe that an excess of somatostatin causes the lack of GH in fibromyalgia sufferers. Somatostatin is a hormone that inhibits the release of GHRH. In order for GHRH to release GH, there must be low levels of somatostatin. For some reason, fibromyalgia patients seem to have too much somatostatin in their bodies, preventing the release of GH. Medications, such as the drug Mestinon, work to block the effects of somatostatin, allowing GH to be released. In studies, fibromyalgia sufferers who had taken Mestinon showed higher levels of GH and IGF-1 after just 6 months.
Human Growth Hormone Therapy
Human growth hormone therapy has proven highly effective in reducing the pain and suffering of many fibromyalgia patients. Numerous studies involving fibromyalgia patients and human growth therapy have been conducted. The majority of these studies show that patients report a significant reduction in symptoms after taking human growth hormone therapy for 9 months. Specifically, patients complained of less muscle weakness and morning stiffness. The number of tender points also dropped significantly.
As a result of these studies, human growth hormone is available in limited quantities to fibromyalgia sufferers. However, this type of therapy is extremely expensive, and usually costs between US$500 and $1000 monthly. Human growth hormone supplements are injected into the blood stream. Though generally safe, there are some side effects associated with human growth hormones. These include:
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- low thyroid function
- high blood pressure
- enlargement of the heart or kidneys
Children should not take any type of growth hormone therapy unless advised by a health professional. Human growth hormone therapy has been linked with a rare disorder known as giantism. Giantism causes the body to grow at alarming rates, causing extreme health risks. Adults taking human growth hormone therapy should also be monitored by a health care practitioner.