Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) are a collection of rare, inherited conditions that affect the connective tissues, primarily in the skin, joints and blood vessel walls.
Connective tissues provide support in skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, internal organs and bones. Patients with EDS will often have overly flexible joints (hypermobility) and stretchy, fragile skin.
There are several forms of EDS and some share the same symptoms. EDS can affect different patients in different ways and symptoms can range from relatively mild to totally disabling.
Hypermobile EDS patients may display joint hypermobility, which leads to extreme tiredness, joint pain and loose unstable joints that can dislocate easily. Their skin may bruise easily and they can suffer with dizziness, digestive problems and issues with internal organs and bladder control.
Classic EDS is less common and tends to affect the skin more. Sufferers may have stretchy and fragile skin that tends to be smooth and velvety and bruises easily. Wounds are slow to heal and leave wide scars. Again, there is joint hypermobility and loose unstable joints which are quick to dislocate. Those with classic EDS can suffer hernias and organ prolapse.
Vascular EDS is very rare and is the most serious. It affects the blood vessels and internal organs which can cause them to split open and can lead to life threatening bleeding.
Kyphoscoliosis EDS is rare and will affect the curvature of the spine and this will start in childhood and often gets much worse during teenage years.
Female EDS patients often suffer gynaecological issues. They are more prone to menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), dysmenorrhea (painful menses), irregular menses and dyspareunia (pain in relation to sexual intercourse). There is also a higher rate of vulvar disorders and pelvic organ prolapse.
There is no one specific treatment for EDS but it is possible to manage the symptoms with support, through a variety of approaches. Occupational therapists can help manage daily activities with advice on equipment and physiotherapists can give sufferers exercises to help strengthen joints and manage pain. For some types of EDS regular hospital scans can detect problems with internal organs and cognitive behavioural therapy can help to cope with depression and suffering long term pain can bring.
EDS sufferers have genetically different connective tissue which makes joints stretchy and hyper mobile. They also seem to have a genetic predisposition to pain processing circuits of the spine and bran (central nervous system) becoming hyper excitable on a long-term basis. Thereby flaring up the experience of pain. Cannabis medicines work to help to settle down these circuits and re-balance them in a way most conventional medicines are unable to do.
Cannabis medicines are very useful in the management of chronic pain, particularly in EDS. Individuals may be experiencing inflammatory, nerve and muscle pain all at once, and cannabis medicines are well suited to this multi-symptom type of management.
Before any pain management medication can be administered here at Integro Medical Clinic, we will ask that you attend a no obligation consultation with one of our specialists, so that we can assess your individual concerns and symptoms, as well as check your medical history. Following this initial assessment, and your case assessed to be suitable by the clinical team, we may provide a prescription which will best suit your needs for long term relief from the pain of your EDS.