Connective Tissue Disorder & Aneurysms

I know not many women would talk to so many others when dealing with their own complications from mesh, but I have spent many hours doing just that. I often hear the same words repeated and those words stick in my mind and someday, they simply overwhelm me so that I force myself to do a search to find the answers.

Many women have told me that they have connective tissue disorder and they asked me could mesh be the cause. I can’t always find the answer they want, so I shelve their words to the back of my mind. However they are still there and I am reminded every time another woman tells me the same thing or asks me the same question.

So what is Connective Tissue Disorder? I had no idea and when I researched I found out that there is more than one type. It seems this is an inherited disorder and I found a good article for you to read first. However after you read this article I have true cause for writing about this disorder for mesh injured women.

Connective Tissue Disease

In this article

  • Inherited Disorders of Connective Tissue
  • Autoimmune Diseases

Connective tissue disease refers to a group of disorders involving the protein-rich tissue that supports organs and other parts of the body. Examples of connective tissue are fat, bone, and cartilage. These disorders often involve the joints, muscles, and skin, but they can also involve other organs and organ systems, including the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and blood vessels.

There are more than 200 disorders that affect the connective tissue.

Causes and specific symptoms vary by the different types.

Inherited Disorders of Connective Tissue Some connective tissue diseases — often called heritable disorders of connective tissue (HDCTs) — are the result of changes in certain genes. Many of these are quite rare. Following are some of the more common ones.

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Actually a group of more than 10 disorders, EDS is characterized by over-flexible joints, stretchy skin, and abnormal growth of scar tissue. Symptoms can range from mild to disabling. Depending on the specific form of EDS, other symptoms may include:

  • A curved spine
  • Weak blood vessels
  • Bleeding gums
  • Problems with the lungs, heart valves, or digestion

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB). People with EB have skin that is so fragile that it tears or blisters as a result of a minor bump, stumble, or even friction from clothing. Some forms of EB may involve the digestive tract, the respiratory tract, the muscles, or the bladder. Caused by defects of several proteins in the skin, EB is usually evident at birth.

Marfan syndrome. Marfan syndrome affects the bones, ligaments, eyes, heart, and blood vessels. People with Marfan syndrome tend to be tall and have extremely long bones and thin “spider-like” fingers and toes. Other problems may include eye problem due to abnormal placement of the eye lens and enlargement of the aorta (the largest artery in the body), which can lead to a fatal rupture. Marfan syndrome is caused by mutations in the gene that regulates the structure of a protein called fibrillin-1.

Osteogenesis imperfecta. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a condition of brittle bones, low muscle mass, and lax joints and ligaments. There are several types of this condition. Specific symptoms depend on the specific type and may include:

  • Blue or gray tint to the whites of the eyes
  • Thin skin
  • Curved spine
  • Breathing problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Teeth that break easily

The disease occurs when a mutation in two genes responsible for type 1 collagen reduces the amount or quality of the protein. Type 1 collagen is important to the structure of bone and skin.

So after reading about this terrible disorder I wondered about a genetic test. It turns out there is a whole site dedicated to the genetic testing. This is that link.

But I am not writing this blog if you are genetically predisposed to this condition, although if you are PLEASE do not allow a doctor to put mesh implants in your body.

I am writing this blog because I came upon information about Fluoroquinolones. Yes, Cipro and other drugs in that family.

I often stumble upon information that I feel can affect women who have implants and are constantly given these drugs because of infection. This is important for every woman to read.

Can the Fluoroquinolone Antibiotics induce arthritis? The Quinolone and Fluoroquinolone family of antibiotics that include such commonly prescribed drugs as Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox have been blamed for a wide variety of illnesses, with a huge amount of case studies, research, and FDA reports to back up much of these claims. But can antibiotics really create a drug-induced arthritis?

We have a dog rescue and we refuse any drugs for our small charges, especially this group of drugs. Here is why. I will also give you links to the past three blogs I have written about these drugs, at the bottom of this blog.

In short, the Fluoroquinolones are extremely damaging to connective tissue, which have caused them to be banned from being given to children, teens, and pregnant women, and was first discovered by giving Levaquin to dogs. It’s this well-accepted and well-known tendency to damage connective tissue that also cause them to be so damaging to connective tissue that the side effects of tendonopathies and even tendon rupture are undisputed, and new research even shows that the risk of a deadly condition called an Aortic Aneurysm is doubled because of these drugs’ tendency to damage collagen.

It’s this same tendency to damage connective tissue that also can trigger or exacerbate arthritis. Joints depend on smooth intact connective tissue in the joint capsule in order to move smoothly, but the Fluoroquinolones can disrupt the growth and turnover of the connective tissue in the joint capsules, which can lead to the pain, swelling, and even joint damage that has been reported to the FDA by thousands of people.

Indeed, studies on dogs have reported a decreased amount of growth and an increased amount of damage to connective tissue in laboratory settings.

“Achilles paratenon, and shoulder capsule fibroblasts with ciprofloxacin resulted in a statistically significant 66% to 68% decrease in cell proliferation compared with control cells at day 3 in culture. Ciprofloxacin caused a statistically significant 36% to 48% decrease in collagen synthesis compared with controls in all fibroblast cultures.”(3)

But what about human studies?

But human studies have been the most disturbing, showing that Fluoroquinolone induced arthritis is a reality for many who take these drugs.

In humans, the [cartilage] lesions [caused by the fluoroquinolones] described are non-erosive symmetric arthropathies that frequently effect the lower extremities… All quinolones appear to be chondrotoxic [damaging to the cartilage].” (2)

Even the FDA, in it’s own documents, admits that, “irreversible cartilaginous lesion[s] can occur” in humans (4), and research studies admit that “fluoroquinolones are toxic to chondrocytes” * (5).  Considering that millions of prescriptions are written for the drugs like Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox every year, it’s amazing that more people are not enduring Fluoroquinolone induced arthritis… or are they.

Close to 10% of the elderly suffer from arthritis, and medicine still claims to not understand the causes of chronic arthritis, how do we know that the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics are not at least partially responsible for such a high rate of this painful chronic condition? We certainly can’t know this for sure, but we do know that there are thousands of people who claim that their arthritis was triggered by the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and that science tells us that Fluoroquinolone Post-marketing reports of drug induced arthritis from the Fluoroquinolones are a definite possibility.

Then I read about the second disturbing results of these drugs and I thought about all the mesh injured women who have taken these drugs constantly over many years.

Both current and past use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics may be associated with an increased risk for life-threatening aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection, researchers reported.

How bad is it?

Adults who had recently taken a fluoroquinolone had a roughly two-fold adjusted increased risk for aortic aneurysm or dissection hospitalization in the nested, case-control analysis of data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD).

Use 2 months to a year prior to hospitalization and prior-year use of one of the broad spectrum antibiotics also appeared to be associated with an increased risk for the severe aortic events, although the risk was attenuated, researcher Chien-Chang Lee MD, of National Taiwan University Hospital, Douliou, Taiwan, and colleagues wrote in Jama Internal Medicine;

“We found that use of fluoroquinolones was associated with an approximately 2-fold increase in risk of aortic aneurysm and dissection within 60 days of exposure,” the researchers wrote. “Although our results cannot establish cause and effect, it is not likely that more detailed information on a larger population at relatively high-risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection will be available in the immediate future.”

The researchers concluded that in the absence of definitive data clinicians should remain, “vigilant for the appearance of aortic aneurysm and dissection in high-risk patients treated with fluoroquinolones.”

OMG now read more.

15,000 Aortic Aneurysm Deaths in U.S. Each Year

The incidence of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm in the U.S. has risen over the last several decades, with an estimated 15,000 Americans dying each year from aortic aneurysm alone, the researchers wrote.

They noted that patients with congenital disorders associated with defects in the connective tissue protein collagen, such as Marfan syndrome or vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome have been shown to have a higher than normal risk for aneurysm-related dilation and dissection.

Use of fluoroquinolones has also been associated with several collagen-related disorders, including Achilles tendon rupture, tendinopathy, and retinal detachment. In 2008, the FDA announced that it would require a boxed warning about the risks of tendonitis and tendon rupture on fluoroquinolone packaging.

Approved fluoroquinolone antibiotics include levofloxacin (Levaquin), ciprofloxacin (Cipro), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and gemifloxacin (Factive).

“Not only is tendon composed of collagen, collagen is also a major extracellular matrix component of the aortic wall,” the researchers wrote. “As fluoroquinolones may induce degradation of collagen causing tendinopathy, this raises the concern that fluoroquinolones may cause or aggravate aortic aneurysm and dissection by a similar mechanism.”

All Users Had Higher Aortic Risk

To test this hypothesis, Lee and colleagues identified 1,477 patients hospitalized for aortic aneurysm or dissection from 2000 through 2011 identified from 1 million NHIRD enrollees. For every case patient, 100 controls matched for age and sex who were not hospitalized for this reason were also included in the study.

The analysis revealed that current, past and prior-year users of fluoroquinolones had a higher risk for aortic aneurysm and dissection than controls when adjusted for confounding variables (rate ratio [RR] 2.28, 95% CI 1.67-3.13), propensity score (RR 2.43, 95% CI 1.83-3.22), and propensity score matching (RR 1.75, 95% CI 1.11-2.74).

Crude (RR 1.82, 95% CI 1.44-2.29) and propensity score-matched effect estimates (RR 1.19, 95% CI 0.85-1.66) for past use of the broad spectrum antibiotics were attenuated compared with current use.

The researchers concluded that while these and other major adverse events associated with fluoroquinolone use are uncommon, the increased use of the drugs makes them a significant concern.

“Given the global burden of aortic aneurysm and dissection and the growing use of fluoroquinolones worldwide, well-designed studies in other populations, especially high-risk populations, should be conducted to validate our findings,” they wrote, adding that animal studies designed to elucidate the mechanism behind the association would also be useful.

Richard Wunderink MD, who was not involved with the study, agreed that additional studies are needed. Wunderink is a professor of medicine and pulmonology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and he is also a spokesman for the American Thoracic Society.

“There are risks and benefits for every drug, and this study may be telling us about another risk for this group of drugs,” he told MedPage Today. “Resistance is certainly the biggest issue we face with the quinolones, but these other issues are concerning, even if they are uncommon.”

So now you know why I think this was a very important blog to write. Here are the other blogs about this family of drugs. All three cover different issues and information associated with these drugs.

This blog covered the latest warning this year.


  1. Nikol Prieto

    I’ve been in and out of the ER 3 times. I suspect my bladder sling is eroding. I have had 2 CT scans, ultrasound, and CT Scan. I keep getting shuffled from doctor to doctor. Do you have any advice on tests that can detect. I live in Indianapolis, IN and the closest doctor who seems to deal with mesh is 5 hours away from me and not in network. I would like to at least confirm this is what it is and want to ask for the right testing. Any help you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Linda (Post author)

      Nikol, these are the tests that UCLA does before surgery, to determine what is going on. You need a cystoscopy to detect erosion in your bladder. I hope this helps.


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