Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect your connective tissues — primarily your skin, joints and blood vessel walls. Connective tissue is a complex mixture of proteins and other substances that provide strength and elasticity to the underlying structures in your body.
People who have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome usually have overly flexible joints and stretchy, fragile skin. This can become a problem if you have a wound that requires stitches, because the skin often isn't strong enough to hold them.
A more severe form of the disorder, called vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can cause the walls of your blood vessels, intestines or uterus to rupture. Because vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can have serious potential complications in pregnancy, you may want to talk to a genetic counselor before starting a family.
There are many different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but the most common signs and symptoms include:
- Overly flexible joints. Because the connective tissue that holds joints together is looser, your joints can move far past the normal range of motion. Joint pain and dislocations are common.
- Stretchy skin. Weakened connective tissue allows your skin to stretch much more than usual. You may be able to pull a pinch of skin up away from your flesh, but it will snap right back into place when you let go. Your skin might also feel exceptionally soft and velvety.
- Fragile skin. Damaged skin often doesn't heal well. For example, the stitches used to close a wound often will tear out and leave a gaping scar. These scars may look thin and crinkly.
Symptom severity can vary from person to person and depends on the specific type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that you have. The most common type is called hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
People who have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome often share distinctive facial features of a thin nose, thin upper lip, small earlobes and prominent eyes. They also have thin, translucent skin that bruises very easily. In fair-skinned people, the underlying blood vessels are very visible through the skin.
Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can weaken your heart's largest artery (aorta), as well as the arteries to other regions of your body. A rupture of any of these larger blood vessels can be fatal. The vascular type can also weaken the walls of the uterus or large intestines — which also may rupture.
Different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are associated with a variety of genetic causes, some of which are inherited and passed on from parent to child. If you have the most common form, hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, there's a 50% chance that you'll pass on the gene to each of your children.
Complications depend on the types of signs and symptoms you have. For example, overly flexible joints can result in joint dislocations and early-onset arthritis. Fragile skin may develop prominent scarring.
People who have vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are at risk of often fatal ruptures of major blood vessels. Some organs, such as the uterus and intestines, also may rupture. Pregnancy can increase the risk of a rupture in the uterus.
If you have a personal or family history of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and you're thinking about starting a family, you may benefit from talking to a genetic counselor — a health care professional trained to assess the risk of inherited disorders. Genetic counseling can help you understand the inheritance pattern of the type of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that affects you and the risks it poses for your children.
Oct. 16, 2020
How painful is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?
Chronic pain in the Ehlers–Danlos syndromes, especially in hypermobile EDS, is very common and may be severe
. It may be widespread or it may be limited to one area of the body such as a limb. Headaches and gastrointestinal discomfort can occur as well as joint, muscle and nerve pain. more
What type of pain is labor pain?
Pain During Labor and Delivery Pain during labor is caused by contractions of the muscles of the uterus and by pressure on the cervix. This pain can be felt as strong cramping in the abdomen, groin, and back, as well as an achy feeling
. Some women experience pain in their sides or thighs as well. more
Can hip pain mimic back pain?
The pain can range in intensity from a dull ache to sharp sensations that affect your mobility and quality of life. Back pain can easily be mistaken for hip pain and discomfort
. The joint of your hip is located near your spine. For that reason, injuries to your hip can resemble or actually cause back pain. more
What pain reliever is best for foot pain?
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen
can help relieve pain and reduce swelling, providing relief for a few hours at a time and making them an excellent foot inflammation treatment. more
What type of pain is back pain? Axial pain
. Also called mechanical pain, axial pain is confined to one spot or region. It may be described a number of ways, such as sharp or dull, comes and goes, constant, or throbbing. A muscle strain is a common cause of axial back pain as are facet joints and annular tears in discs. more
What type of pain is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is long standing pain that persists beyond the usual recovery period or occurs along with a chronic health condition, such as arthritis
. Chronic pain may be "on" and "off" or continuous. It may affect people to the point that they can't work, eat properly, take part in physical activity, or enjoy life. more
Can labor pain feel like kidney pain?
Contractions start in the abdominal muscles, but some women may feel pain in the kidney region
Does a pain pump help with arthritis pain? Pain pumps can help patients with many types of issues
. These include degenerative conditions, like osteoarthritis; pain stemming from cancer; diseases of the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis; and nerve injuries related to medical conditions, autoimmune diseases, and accidents. more
What type of pain is aching pain? Nociceptive pain
is a type of pain caused by damage to body tissue. People often describe it as being a sharp, achy, or throbbing pain. more
How much pain is too much pain?
Severe Pain. When it intensifies to level 8, pain makes even holding a conversation extremely difficult and your physical activity is severely impaired. Pain is said to be at level 9 when it is excruciating, prevents you speaking and may even make you moan or cry out. Level 10 pain is unbearable
What is the best pain killer for tooth pain?
Over-the-Counter Pain Medication “Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin or naproxen
work well with dental pain because they reduce inflammation,” says Huang. Recent data has shown the combination of Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol (acetaminophen) is as effective as prescription opioids for tooth pain. more