Today I spent quite a while talking to my gynecologist. I know it may be weird to some but I love my gynecologist. He is in my top three doctors for the most kind, caring doctors I’ve ever seen (and as you know, I’ve seen a lot 😉
I made an appointment to see him after I returned from seeing Dr. Tinkle in Cincinnati. One of Dr. Tinkle’s recommendations was to get on a second generation Progesterone birth control to see if it helps regulate my hormones and provides me with better joint stability.
I had told Dr. Tinkle that at the time of my period, it seems I get worse with pain, joint looseness, and POTS symptoms. He said he hears that a lot, and that it made sense because there can be a definite hormonal influence on EDS (and POTS). To quote from his book,
“It has been known that there is a hormonal influence on joint laxity. The female hormones affect the ligaments at the cellular level altering the production of collagen and the cells that support it [Magnusson, 2007; Hansen, 2008]. Females generally are more lax than men which in part is due to the shape and form of the female body, musculature and types of activities in addition to the hormonal influence. Some observe that their joints seem “looser” or more unstable just before their menstrual flow (periods) [Child, 1989; Friden, 2006]. Research looking into whether or not this monthly “looseness” makes the person more prone to injury at the same time has been contradictory. [Griffen, 2000]
While both female hormones affect collagen, it is more likely that progesterone and its analogues (similar chemical hormones) increase ligamentous laxity. Medroxyprogesterone, the type of progesterone commonly found in DepoProvera, is a “true” progesterone and can increase joint hypermobility. Similar progesterone’s made from testosterone (the male hormone), such as norethindrone or norgesterol, are thought to have less effect on ligaments. If one takes an oral contraceptive pill, choosing the combination with either norethindrone or norgesterol may have less influence on joint laxity.”
Resources: “Hormonal Aspects of Hypermobility,” by Professor Howard Bird, from the Hypermobility Association, www.hypermobility.org