Endometriosis

Overview

A condition in which the tissue lining the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, affecting the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissue lining the pelvis. While endometriosis has not been classified as an autoimmune condition, it is thought to increase the risk for autoimmune conditions as the inflammatory nature appears to trigger an imbalance in the immune system. The link between endometriosis and its association with autoimmunity is still being investigated.

Common Symptoms

Excessive menstrual cramps, pain during sexual intercourse, abnormal or heavy menstrual flow, infertility, painful urination or bowel movements during menstrual periods, and chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Fibroids, pelvic inflammatory disease, interstitial cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, ovarian cancer, and endometrial cancer.

Studies have also shown that having endometriosis may increase the risk of also having autoimmune diseases such as SLE, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disorder, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and Addison’s disease

Risk Factors and Prevalence

Endometriosis typically affects females who are of reproductive age (18-45). A positive family history of the disease is another risk factor. Studies have found that females are also more likely to develop endometriosis if they start their period at an earlier age or if they have shorter menstrual cycles.

Sources

  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Endometriosis. (n.d.). Retrieved July 15, 2021, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis

    2. Nnoaham, K. E., Webster, P., Kumbang, J., Kennedy, S. H., & Zondervan, K. T. (2012). Is early age at menarche a risk factor for endometriosis? A systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies. Fertility and Sterility, 98(3), 702-712.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.05.035

    3. Nouri, K., Ott, J., Krupitz, B., Huber, J. C., & Wenzl, R. (2010). Family incidence of endometriosis in first-, second-, and third-degree relatives: Case-control study. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology : RB&E, 8, 85. https://doi.org/10.1186/1477-7827-8-85

    4. Shigesi, N., Kvaskoff, M., Kirtley, S., Feng, Q., Fang, H., Knight, J. C., Missmer, S. A., Rahmioglu, N., Zondervan, K. T., & Becker, C. M. (2019). The association between endometriosis and autoimmune diseases: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Human Reproduction Update, 25(4), 486–503. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmz014

    5. Wei, M., Cheng, Y., Bu, H., Zhao, Y., & Zhao, W. (2016). Length of Menstrual Cycle and Risk of Endometriosis. Medicine, 95(9), e2922. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000002922

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