When I was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in 2014 after 6 years of investigation, it also brought several other diagnosis that are known to go “hand-in-hand” with this connective tissue disease. EDS is a congenital disease (genetic) and is multi-systemic due to it affecting the strength of collagen (structural protein) throughout the body (collagen makes up all of your skin, organs, tendons, ligaments, bones, blood vessels etc.) [source: http://ehlers-danlos.com/eds-types/]. In simple terms, EDS causes all the strong collagen in your body to be instead, extremely weak, stretchy and easily breakable. Therefore, many patients who have EDS have problems with their digestive systems.
Prior to my diagnoses, throughout my time at the University of Leeds studying for my undergraduate degree my health began to spiral into decline. Over the three years (2011-2014), I was suffering from a variety of symptoms: extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping, bloating, abdominal pains and cramping, nausea, vomiting, muscle fatigue, muscle and joint pain, hair falling out, bleeding gums, brittle flaky nails, grey complexion, constipation, diarrhoea, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, brain fog, headaches, migraines, palpitations, dizziness, fainting and syncope episodes, hypoglycemic attacks, chest pain, flushing, unexplained full body or partial body rashes, hives, itching tongue and mouth etc. I thought it was completely ‘normal’ to feel this way after I ate and continually throughout the day as I didn’t know anything different – I know, crazy – but how is a person supposed to know that it isn’t ‘normal’ if you’ve just been in one body your whole life feeling a certain way? What is considered ‘normal’ to one person could be completely ‘abnormal’ to another.