How to Deal With Bowel Issues in EDS
Why does EDS cause bowel issues?
EDS affects the connective tissue, which is present throughout the body, including in the bowel. Connective tissue is important in facilitating the movement needed to expel body waste. Any abnormality in these tissues can, therefore, disrupt such function.
What kinds of issues do patients experience?
A National Human Genome Research Institute review of the medical charts of 51 EDS patients for gastrointestinal findings showed that 72% had some combination of gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Depending on EDS type, problems with bowel function can cause:
- Acid reflux
- Chronic headache disorders
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Cardiovascular dysautonomia
- Reduced lower esophageal sphincter tone
- Gut-related immune dysregulation
- Gastrointestinal tract rupture
- Hiatal hernia
- Rectal prolapse
- Microbial imbalance (dysbiosis)
- Paralysis of the digestive tract (gastroparesis)
How do doctors treat bowel issues?
If you have EDS and are experiencing gastrointestinal issues, your doctor will likely conduct several tests to pinpoint the cause or location of your problems and work out a treatment plan. It’s recommended that each issue related to bowel function be addressed according to current standards.
Because most EDS patients are prescribed numerous medications and may take food supplements, there may be side effects that could exacerbate bowel problems.
Can diet help?
Diet affects the health of the gut microbiome, so it may help to regularly consume nutrient-dense foods. Some researchers recommend a fiber-rich diet adequate in glycine, proline, lysine, and vitamin C. Probiotics such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, or sauerkraut may also help.
Also consider avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates, limiting alcohol intake, eliminating artificial sweeteners, and reducing the consumption of saturated fats and cured meat.
Last updated: Aug. 12, 2020
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