One of the unfortunate realities of the mainstream care landscape today is that many women are being told that symptoms that don’t “fit into a box” are all in their heads. We know from studies that women in pain are much more likely than men to receive prescriptions for sedatives over pain medication. It’s not uncommon for women to spend years having their pain and debilitating symptoms dismissed by doctors. Many eventually give up on any hope of ever being healed of their symptoms. However, more and more women who fall into the category of being Women of Mysterious Illness (WOMI) are turning to functional medicine for answers. Here at Functional and Metabolic Medicine of Colorado, Dr. Susan Sipay takes pride in giving our patients a place to share their symptoms in a receptive environment. Our office has the experience, diagnostic tools and understanding of whole-body health dynamics to help Women of Mysterious Illness (WOMI) sufferers.

Signs and Symptoms of WOMI

The signs, symptoms and experiences associated with WOMI are varied. Typically, having a mysterious illness means having a cluster of symptoms that don’t fit perfectly into a diagnostic box. Common experiences include:

  • Fatigue.
  • Mood changes.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Digestive distress.
  • Bloating.
  • Weight gain.
  • Weight loss.
  • Anxiety.
  • Hair loss.
  • Body aches and pains.
  • Confusion.
  • Dry skin.
  • Brittle nails.
  • Menstrual irregularities.

While some women suffering from mysterious illness may have a primary symptom that is causing distress, others experience a cluster of symptoms. Mysterious illness can make it difficult to perform at work, stay connected with family and participate in life. Women with mysterious illnesses also tend to feel isolated and alone. They may not feel supported by friends, family members and doctors. In many cases, they are not believed by the people closest to them when they share their symptoms and struggles.

When to See a Doctor

You may have already seen multiple doctors if you’re suffering from a mysterious illness. However, the common thread among WOMI patients is that they are unable to get proper attention and solutions. If you’ve been struggling with an undiagnosed illness, consider working with a functional medicine doctor here in Littleton, Colorado. Dr. Susan Sipay will begin with an intensive questionnaire that allows our team to gain an understanding of your complete health picture. Dr. Sipay will also speak with you as part of her one-on-one approach to helping patients find health answers. Dr. Sipay may recommend some screenings and diagnostic tests to detect nutrient levels, hormone levels, autoimmune reactions and potential allergies.

What Causes WOMI?

Mysterious illness doesn’t have a unified root cause. What’s more, no two women suffering from mysterious illnesses will have the same experience. At Functional and Metabolic Medicine of Colorado, we’re trained to look for signs pointing to hard-to-diagnose conditions. Some potential causes of WOMI include an autoimmune disorder, thyroid disorder, imbalanced gut microbiome, hormone deficiency, hormonal imbalance due to menopause or food allergy.

Risk Factors

The biggest risk factor associated with WOMI is not detecting a potentially serious illness or disease that puts your life at risk. Allowing a health-related red flag to go untreated can result in damage to systems and organs. Situations like a thyroid disorder or hormonal imbalance can greatly increase your odds for serious health consequences when left untreated. There is also a mental-health risk factor. Living in pain without being understood can cause anxiety, distrust and a hesitancy to seek medical care for serious problems out of fear of not being believed.


When mysterious illness isn’t treated, the underlying trigger continues to run rampant in your body. We see so often here at Functional and Metabolic Medicine of Colorado how treating the body as a whole enables us to help our patients reestablish balance. Things like eliminating certain foods, restoring healthy gut flora through supplementation and balancing hormones can all help women to overcome mysterious illness.

Don't Suffer in Silence as a Women of Mysterious Illness

Dr. Susan Sipay founded our practice near Denver to help patients get the personal, integrated care needed to diagnose complex health issues. Let us help you get to the bottom of your mysterious, troubling symptoms. Call (720) 791-2911 or email to book an appointment.