Urinary tract problems can be common in those with EDS, particularly women. In fact, if a nulliparous (woman who hasn’t had kids) woman presents with urinary incontinence, doctors are advised to check for EDS. Urinary incontinence usually only becomes a problem when the pelvic floor suffers trauma during childbirth. So, for women who have never experienced childbirth to get it, is rare. But with EDS, the connective tissue supporting the pelvic floor are loose and that can lead to urinary incontinence. Anecdotally, it’s also a little unusual to suffer from urinary incontinance after your first child. But that’s exactly what happens to most women with EDS. Our poor pelvic floors are just a little more fragile than most.
Other issues can arise due to our bladders being too stretchy. For example, that can stretch to hold in more liquid than usual. I used to think this was something to be proud of! But holding in urine for too long can lead to infections, so now I make sure to go at regular intervals, whether it feels urgent or not.
We are also prone to things like bladder pain and cystitis, often without any signs of infection. Plus something called ‘over-active bladder’. I do need to throw in a word of caution however. Often pelvic pain can be from a very different cause. I had intense pain, which was diagnosed as over-active bladder by my GP after kidney X-rays were clear. It turned out, however, that my pain was actually caused by ovarian torsion, where the loose ligaments holding my ovary in place caused it to twist, cutting off blood supply from the vein that was supposed to fulfill this function. So, it eventually necrolised (turned black , ‘died’) and could have led to serious sepsis. So, if you have pain in your bladder/abdominal area, please make sure you get it thoroughly checked out.
[image of a light green background, with the words ‘U is for Urinary Tract’ in black.]