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Ehlers Danlos Syndromes Specialist

Digestive Disorders Associates and MDTEC

Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD, Gambrills, MD & Chester, MD

Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) is the name given to a group of non-inflammatory hereditary conditions, which are all disorders of the connective tissue. Connective tissue is a supporting structure in our body and is made up of a number of proteins including collagen, which is the protein most often thought to be involved in EDS. Collagen is abundant in skin, muscles and ligaments where it gives these structures strength and support. Changes in the collagen proteins can mean that these structures are more ‘stretchy’ in EDS.

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Q & A

How does EDS affect the digestive system?

As connective tissue is present throughout the body, many different structures around the body including the digestive tract can be affected by EDS. Connective tissue is present in the digestive tract and is essential to the passive mechanical movements needed to complete digestion. It has been suggested that any abnormalities in the connective tissues in the digestive tract are likely to alter the way in which it moves, which could contribute to the range of symptoms experienced by people with hEDS. Connective tissue is also present around the nerves of the digestive tract and abnormalities of this can potentially make the gut more sensitive. It is important to remember that whilst differences in the digestive tract function are likely to be present in hEDS, as yet diagnostic biomarkers have not been identified and more research is needed to better understand the nature and impact of connective tissue within the digestive system, particularly in the other subtypes of EDS.

Common problems that can occur:

  • Delayed gastric emptying / dysmotility
  • Heartburn / reflux
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders

What can be done to help me?

Management options depend on the type of symptoms experienced and to what degree they are bothersome. Treatments for people with hEDS are based on the general principles of managing these symptoms.

Non Medication Methods- (Physical therapy, psychological methods (such as cognitive behavioral therapy), specialist pain management and dietary guidance can all play a part in better symptom management.)

These methods must be undertaken upon the advice of your doctor and under the appropriate supervision of a professional familiar with your condition. It is also worth remembering that no treatment or therapy is going to ‘cure’ you and not every option may be of benefit for everyone.

To learn more, call 410-224-4887 or visit DDA.net to schedule a consultation today.