Article: Autoimmune Disease & Endometriosis

I came across this article this morning and had to share!

Autoimmune Disease More Likely with Endometriosis (Reuters Health)
February 26, 2010

By Kathleen Doheny

SAN DIEGO, Feb 26 (Reuters Health) – Women with endometriosis, in which tissue normally found inside the uterus begins to grow elsewhere in the body, are more likely than women without the condition to suffer from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, according to survey findings presented here Monday. The researchers found that women with endometriosis were also more likely to have asthma and allergies, to have abnormally low thyroid function and to have either chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, National Institutes of Health research fellow Ninet Sinaii reported at the VIII World Congress on Endometriosis, sponsored by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

“While other studies have shown there may be some autoimmune dysregulation in women with endometriosis, this is probably the first population-based, epidemiological study” to look at the issue, Sinaii said.

Sinaii and colleagues from the NIH and George Washington University in Washington, DC, polled 3,680 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis, asking them if they had ever been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, an endocrine disorder, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. The women ranged in age from 14 to 89, and their average age was about 36.

“The thing that gives this study statistical power is the sample size,” Sinaii noted. “Our hypothesis was, if so many studies have shown autoimmune dysregulation (in women with endometriosis), it makes sense that we would also see other autoimmune diseases.”

The team speculated that the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue they found among the survey respondents might be related to the pain caused by endometriosis. More than 98% of the women surveyed reported pelvic pain, and 41% reported infertility.

The results: 12% of the women surveyed also had an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or multiple sclerosis, while less than 2% of women in the general population have either disease. And 42% of the women with endometriosis had underactive thyroid glands, versus less than 5% of women in the general population. Asthma affected 12% of the women with endometriosis, but strikes only 5% of women overall. Sixty-one percent of the endometriosis patients suffered from allergies, versus 18% of women overall.

Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, though not considered autoimmune diseases, were also more common among women with endometriosis; 31% had either condition, while 4% of women overall have fibromyalgia and less than 1% have chronic fatigue syndrome.

More than 5 million women in the US and Canada have endometriosis, according to the Endometriosis Association, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit research and education organization that supported the research. When the tissue begins growing outside its normal site, for example along the fallopian tubes, there can be chronic pelvic pain, disabling menstrual periods, pain during sex, and infertility. Treatments include surgery, hormones and pain medicines.

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  • Reply Judy Jeute

    Verrry interesting, indeed!

    February 7, 2011 at 10:37 am
  • Reply Annie

    That is very interesting because I had lots of problems with endometriosis as a teenager and was only able to have one child because I had to have a hysterectomy at age 26 because of the endometriosis. I also suffer from lupus, arthritis, hypothyroidism, asthma, and 2 types of kidney disease. It is interesting to see science beginning to link these problems. Maybe bringing us one step closer to some type of cure. Thanks for sharing!


    February 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm
  • Reply Jeni

    Finally there’s a link that may explain my auto immune deficiencies. I started with endometriosis at the age of 14. Painful cramps and heavy bloodflow kept me in bed 3 to 4 days a month. When I try to get pregnant it didn’t work out too well but thank God I did manage to give birth twice. At the age of 25 I was diagnosed with Raynaulds disease which causes you to be cold and your hands and feet to be red and cold. You’re always cold even in the summer. Then at the age of 27 I was diagnosed with endometriosis. So I had been suffering with endometriosis for 13 to 14 years before diagnosed. I started having problems with my teeth in my 30s fillings falling out. Holes in your teeth that were not cavities at first constantly spend a lot of time at the dentist probably eight times a year. I am now 57 years old and last year I was diagnosed with Sjogren’s. That was the answer to my problems with teeth. Most of them are gone whether they’ve been pulled or they are just like granular’s of sand in my mouth is in the morning when I wake up I can’t even smile anymore I can’t even eat or bite. But the Mistry of my mouth because I took such good care of my teeth has now been solved called Sjögren’s. I feel horrible and I look horrible. I’m not able to take Advil or any other Ibuprofen due to my liver. My family is all gone and I have no one to lean on. There are times that I actually feel like is it all even worth it. I have low thyroid disease also and it all started with endometriosis. I could’ve told you it was an autoimmune deficiency

    April 19, 2015 at 5:29 pm
  • Reply Susan

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    July 4, 2016 at 8:25 am
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