A to Z of EDS: H is for Hernia

Hernias of all kinds are common in EDS.

I have mentioned hiatal hernias in my previous post, as they are often found alongside, and contributing to, GERD. They occur when a portion of your stomach pokes through a hole in your diaphragm and forms a ‘pouch’ which collects stomach acid. I recently had a gastroscopy, as the GI surgeon I saw suspected I had a hiatal hernia. He didn’t know much about EDS (in fact, I was only the second EDS patient he’d had) but from his reading on the subject, he expected to see one as they are so common. He did find one, but I think once he saw it was a lot smaller than he’d expected, he lost interest in me! And yet, the pain from it is unbearable at times. Might be to to with unusual/heightened pain response that comes with both EDS and autism.

Other hernias, can occur elsewhere along the digestive system and are also more common in EDS than in the general population. They occur because our abdominal muscles and connective tissue is weak, so gaps can occur at any time, through which our intestines can pass and get stuck. They often resolve spontaneously, with the intestines slipping back into place, and so are often not detected by doctors as the ‘lump’ formed is gone by the time they see you. As a result of this, I’m not sure whether or not I’ve had any of these hernias. They may explain some of the intense and random intestinal pain I get. (Though that could also be caused by other things eg constipation)

Some problematic hernias can be repaired through operations, often performed via a laparoscopy. But because people with EDS don’t often heal well after surgery, it’s often a last resort. So, from what I can gather, the main ‘treatment’ seems to be just putting up with it.

 

[image of a dark purple background, with the following words: ‘ H is for Hernia’ in white.]

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