More than endometriosis?
Endo's link to autoimmune diseases and cancer
A New Study
The September 17, 2002 issue of Woman's Day magazine reported
on the link between endometriosis and autoimmune diseases and cancer.
A collaborative study by the NIH and the Association showed that women
with endo are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus,
Sjögren's Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto's
thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
(CFIDS), asthma, and fibromyalgia.
Been There, Knew That...
Earlier Association research showed that women with endo and their families
have a heightened risk of breast cancer, melanoma, ovarian cancer, and
other autoimmune diseases. There's also a greater risk of non-Hodgkins
lymphoma in the families. Association members can order the booklet, "Endometriosis
and Cancer: What is the Connection?" for detailed information, please
go to our catalog
to order. If you are not a member, please click
here to become one!
...And the Good News Is...
Of course it's wise for women with endo to report ANY unusual symptoms
to their health care provider. But there is no need to panic. Knowledge
is power in health care! Stay informed about endometriosis and related
diseases as a member of the Endometriosis Association. Members have access
to ALL the latest literature, as well as the international newsletter.
Upcoming Association newsletters will report on this in more detail, we
read about the "new" theory about the cause of endo, and the
study suggesting that women who use tampons and/or have sex during menstruation
are less likely to develop endometriosis? Here's the real story.
The retrograde menstruation theory was first published more than 80
years ago. Retrograde menstruation may have some effect, but we now
know that most women experience some backflow even though they do not
develop endo. Women with the disease, on the other hand, have immune
abnormalities that do not repel the growth of rogue tissue. Studies
over the last decade have linked endo to dioxin exposure as well. (It's
important to note here that most dioxin exposure results from the food
people eat, rather than from other sources, although all sources are
Sex and the Endo Woman
Regarding this study, of course women with endo were less likely to
engage in sex during menses: women with endo typically experience their
worst pain during their period. To state that women aren't getting endo
because they are having sex--when it's just as likely that they aren't
having sex because they are experiencing the pain of endo--is jumping
to conclusions. Likewise, exclusive tampon use among those who have
endo as compared to those who don't could be related to heavy bleeding
and/or pain issues. Also, many of our members avoid tampon use to reduce
possible dioxin exposure.
The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth
There is no data to support the conclusion that orgasm or tampons push
or draw out "debris" that becomes endo. Endo is complex, as
are its causes and treatments.
Want to learn more? Read our books, Overcoming Endometriosis and The
Endometriosis Sourcebook. (We're working on a third book now!) Download
our brochure. Become a member, and every newsletter will bring you the
latest accurate information on endo studies. Stories like this remind
us why the Endometriosis Association is needed, to correct all the myths
and fund research! Call or write us with your questions. Together, we
make a difference.
Click here for a Free information packet