Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, collagen and estrogen


Warrior by Donna Williams http://www.donnawilliams.net/Gallery/Available/index.html

Warrior by Donna Williams http://www.donnawilliams.net/Gallery/Available/index.html

The definition of a degenerative disorder is when there is an active process contributing to measurable decline in functioning, be that of the spine, of the brain, of the myelin that protects the nerves. Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is not an autoimmune disorder (though one could certainly have both). In this sense though autonomic neuropathy, in fact polyneuropathy, may occur in both MS and EDS, in EDS there is no autoimmune disorder at work attacking the myelin, even though there may be degeneration of the connective tissue that protects the myelin which in turn protects the nerves. Expose the myelin through the degeneration of the connective tissue that protects it and you leave the myelin vulnerable to whatever damaging processes the body has to offer.

EDS is in fact listed as a degenerative condition, though most laypeople are not aware of this. Ask anyone with EDS though and they will usually tell you all about its challenges. But we all age, don’t we? And aren’t people with EDS just ageing like we all do, and the weakest areas of the body are the first places to show it? Well, sort of. And sort of not. If you break a window, you leave a building vulnerable to further damage from birds and other animals entering the building. If you then also break the seals around the window you have draughts and rain getting in. If you break the locks on the window as well, you have the building now more at risk from burglars. And its similar with EDS… because connective tissue is throughout the entire body the damage becomes exponential.

And there are also particular circumstances under which connective tissue may be less able to repair, to be replaced, or replenished. Connective tissue relies on estrogen for these things. As women move toward menopause, go through chemo or then find themselves saving their life from breast cancer by being on long term if not life long estrogen blockers then what may not have been a degenerative connective tissue disorder may well become one. Add inflammation and poor healing associated with immune deficiencies and you may have a recipe for EDS presenting as a degenerative disorder. http://www.veneffect.com/the-science/the-collagen-estrogen-connection

Donna Williams, BA Hons, Dip Ed.
Author, artist, singer-songwriter, screenwriter.
Autism consultant and public speaker.

I acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Owners of this country throughout Australia, and their connection to land and community.

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