Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hypermobility and GI Problems

While joint pain is the most common symptom associated with Hypermobility Syndrome (HMS), HMS can affect other systems in the body. As a result, many HMS patients suffer from digestive problems - constipation, heart burn, diarrhea, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), nausea, vomiting, delayed stomach emptying, Hiatal hernias, early satiety, and severe abdominal pain. These problems are all related to the underlying collagen defect responsible for HMS. Collagen is an important building block for all soft-tissue, and your GI track is one of the longest stretches of soft tissue in your body, which is an invitation for trouble. Just like in your joints, this collagen defect makes the connective tissues in your stomach stretchier than they should be, which makes it harder for your stomach to pass food. As Dr. Brad Tinkle explains in his book, Joint Hypermobility Handbook, "the increased laxity of the connective tissue [in the stomach] results in more difficulty for the muscles to contract. This results in the inability to close various valves throughout the gastrointestinal tract and difficulty pushing foods along for stooling" (p 121).

So, what can you do to treat these GI problems related to hypermobility? One trick is to decrease the amount of fat in your diet - when consuming dairy, choose items made from 2%, skim, or fat-free milk. Another trick is to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day - instead of eating a large breakfastt lunch and dinner, eat a small meal when you wake up, a follow-up snack an hour or two later, a light lunch, another snack around 4pm, and a lighter dinner later in the evening. Spacing your meals out like this should make your digestion easier and more regular.

For those suffering from severe, chronic stomach problems, it is extremely important to adopt a fiber and laxative regiment. I highly recommend reading Cure Constipation Now: A Doctor's Fiber Therapy to Cleanse and Heal by Dr. Wes Jones (available on This book provides a simple plan for introducing fiber and laxatives into your diet, and it works wonders! My mom has suffered from horrible stomach problems her entire life, and after being on Dr. Jones' regiment for only a few months her IBS symptoms are almost entirely gone! It has been a real miracle for her - IBS symptoms have been interfering with her life, dictating what she can eat and what she can do for years. Now, with this fiber regiment, she is no longer a slave to her stomach. I too have tried it and am amazed by the results - I take fiber supplements (Benefiber and/or Metamucil), stool softeners (Ducolax), laxitives (Miralax), and Magnesium supplements every day. It may sound like a lot, but if you stick to the regimine, it will pay you back ten-fold. You should not start taking these supplements abruptly, however, but instead talk to your doctor or consult Dr. Jones' book to learn how to gradually introduce your body to these supplements. Also, if you are having severe stomach problems, it is always important to talk to your doctor to make sure they are not caused by a more serious condition like Colon cancer.

Hope that helps!
- Chelsea

Monday, December 27, 2010


Hi everybody! I wanted to let you all know that I have really appreciated your comments, I love hearing your stories and suggestions for things you would like to see on the blog. I have, however, been having trouble accessing each poster's contact information, which means I have not been able to respond to many posts. If you have a question you would like answered, or just need some general advice, I would suggest contacting me directly via email at That way I can respond to you in a quicker, more personalized manner.
I can't wait to hear from you!

Love and Hope,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New Hypermobility App on iTunes

Doctor Bradly Tinkle, author of two great books on Hypermobility Syndrome - Issues and Management of Joint Hypermobility, and Joint Hypermobility Handbook - has recently released an app on iTunes. The app is called 'JHDiagnosis' and can be found in the Utilities category in the app store - it is most easily found by simply searching for the word 'hypermobility' in iTunes.

This app takes you step by step through the Beighton Criteria, the most authoritative test used to diagnose generalized joint hypermobility or laxity. The app features pictures of each movement tested, an explanation of how the Beighton Criteria is used, and narration by Dr. Brad Tinkle himself. The app also includes movements not included on the official Beighton criteria, but which are extremely useful when trying to diagnose HMS.

I would highly recommend that every HMS patient download this app (compatible with iPhone and iPad and its free!) to learn a little bit more about the condition. Then, bring your iPod to work, school, or just out and about and test your coworkers, friends, and family to see if they may have one of the major symptoms of HMS (NOTE: This app cannot diagnose Hypermobility Syndrome, instead, it screens for generalized joint hypermobility, a symptom which can be caused by a number of connective tissue diseases, HMS being chief among these). Also, encourage your doctors - GPs, Physical Therapists, Orthopedists, OBGYNs, Rheumatologists - to download this app as well. This will not only help them understand you and your medical concerns more, but will also help them spot Hypermobility Syndrome in their other patients.