Doctors and scientists many times study how diseases overlap.  Overlapping symptoms make diagnosis much harder.  Many disorders and diseases that affect women most seem to be difficult to diagnose.  Because there may be a hormone issue, sometimes symptoms are brushed aside.  Womens’ health problems are diagnosed as depression, anxiety, or hormonal problems.

I know this, because of studies, but also because it happened to me for years.  The issue of chronic pain in women is certainly dismissed far too often.  Instead of solving the problem, they are offered anti-depressants or told to lose weight.

Common ailments, such as, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, TMJ and IBS have now been studied together.  Scientists are looking at these disorders as a group, because of the overlap of symptoms.  These disorders cause horrible dysfunction to the patient, yet doctors receive very little training in diagnosing and treating them.

New Alliance

Four organizations have come together to form an alliance, to better study these overlapping conditions.  The Chronic Pain Research Alliance was formed in 2011 from:Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) Association of America, the Endometriosis Association, the National Vulvodynia Association, and the TMJ Association. (by Carol Ratliff Drury)

My Overlapping Conditions

Since my health problems stem from: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Mast Cell Disorder, Autoimmune disease and Osteoarthritis, Im very interested in the overlap of these.  Ive read numerous articles and personal experiences of those who have all of these disorders.  Many of the symptoms overlap and they appear to be comorbid.

As Ive been reading about Mast Cells, there seems to be a connection to much of what is wrong with me.  Since I was only diagnosed with this last year, Im still learning.  Im now reading a book (for review) that Ill write about later.

Mast cells originate in the bone marrow and are found in all areas of the body.  They are the master regulators of the immune system  These diseases seem to involve mast cell activation:asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, coronary hypersensitivity syndrome, eczema, fibromyalgia, idiopathic anaphylaxis, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, neuroinflammation, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), psoriasis, and even autism. (

Im eager to learn more about the overlap and mast cell involvement of my illnesses.  As more studies are done and more training takes place, there may be better answers for those of us with overlapping chronic illnesses.

Disclaimer: Im not a medical expert.  This post is 100% my opinion. If you have a medical question, please consult your personal physician.

@2017, copyright Lisa Ehrman