I can’t even begin to count the number of readers who’ve commented or emailed about suddenly developing Raynaud’s disease after getting at least one shot of Gardasil.
Gardasil has, of course, been associated with myriad problems from seizures to a rapid-onset ALS type disease, as well as Raynaud’s. However, the data has so far only led the FDA to warn about a heightened risk of syncope and blood clots. There’s currently no evidence that Gardasil causes Raynaud’s disease; it’s not uncommon and there is also some evidence that it can be triggered by hormonal birth control, which many girls are beginning to take around the time they get Gardasil.
But whether your Raynaud’s eventually turns out to have been caused by Gardasil or the link is definitively disproved, it’s a serious nuisance. It causes blood vessels in fingers and toes to clamp down painfully, leading to blisters—even tissue and nerve damage in severe cases. It’s sometimes associated with an underlying disorder such as lupus. It can mean that something as simple as holding a cold Coke or reaching into the freezer can trigger attacks; winter sports are virtually out of the question.
Well, maybe. When student Natalie Deuitch was told she had Raynaud’s and warned to either stay warm at all times or start taking blood pressure meds, neither option was acceptable. She loved skiing and outdoor pursuits. Her blood pressure was perfectly fine. And she was sick of the painful blistering on her always-purpling toes.
So she researched ways to fix it, and came up with a submersion technique that retrains fingers and toes to react normally to cold. To her astonishment, it helped. A lot.
“One night in November my friends and I lay out on the Blue Ridge Parkway, watching a meteor shower. It was 30 degrees and I didn’t get even the slightest Raynaud’s attack,” she marvels. “On the down side, I lost my excuse for not shoveling snow off the driveway!”
Natalie hopes to do a lot more research into Raynaud’s and ways to easily fix it—and, she wonders, if you fix Raynaud’s, could you also head off underlying conditions? She’d love to be in contact with other Raynaud’s sufferers for discussion and research. So if you want to ditch the effects of Raynaud’s disease, whatever the cause, and be able to grab a cold one this summer, check out Natalie’s blogspot (http://nomorepurpletoes.blogspot.com/) or email her at email@example.com
Oh, and don’t forget—if any condition starts after you get the Gardasil shots, file a VAERS report. Unfortunately, the only way correlation and causation link up is when researchers have sufficient data and can see a significant blip in the norm. Fill out a RateADrug survey too, while you’re at it!