During pregnancy, Oestrogen and Progesterone levels climb, along with the production of other important hormones. Relaxin relaxes ligaments for childbirth (original name, huh?) and Prolactin controls milk production – but is also slackens things, so there is an expected overall increase in joint laxity during pregnancy. The changes usually disappear after childbirth, although breastfeeding may increase their longevity.
Professor Mike Pope’s research into HT-EDS/HSD suggests that after the first pregnancy, women's joints are looser, then they become looser again after the second, but following the third, there is no further decline.
It’s worth noting that although Pubis Symphasis Dysfunction is common in pregnancy and women without EDS/HSD have it, the chances of it happening in Bendy Bodies is higher.
Some of the Stripey Sisterhood can expect pelvic problems from four months in to their pregnancy, so be sure to make our medical team aware of this if a baby is in your future - and get crutches and/or a wheelchair in advance of when you actually need it, as it takes time to arrange these things and for them to arrive.
In 2015, Em, Okatayoglu, et al wrote a study called Serum Relaxin levels In Benign Hypermobility Syndrome (BJHS/JHS) looking at the levels of Serum Relaxin in 88 women – 48 with BJHS and 40 without. What they concluded contradicts the idea that problems caused by Relaxin begin and end with pregnancy.
They found that the level of Relaxin in women with BJHS/EDS/HSD* who had flat feet (pes planus) and/or a forward curvature of the spine (think ‘hunchback’, hyperkyphosis) has significantly higher levels of this hormone in their system – when they are not pregnant.
While they also say this doesn’t mean it causes the Syndrome, it certainly highlights the role hormones have to play in our bodies. What this means for the future of female EDS/HSD patients, we don’t know, but any increase in information can only be helpful in the long run.
We’ll keep an eye on research in this area, and report to you when we find something new. In the meantime, keep your eyes on the site for a fascinating article about hormones and pain.
It might just change provide some alternatives for pain patients in the future - if it checks out...