Endometriosis Risk Factors Studied by the ENDO Study

Endometriosis prevalence and incidence is not fully understood. It is a disease that flourishes during hormonal phase of our life so once diagnosed, its recurrence is common. A lot is known about the condition, how it causes pain, how it produces infertility, how it is linked with spontaneous abortions and poor immune function, and what it looks like at the time of surgery or under the microscope. The true statistics are not accurate but not too many theories have explained why one woman gets endometriosis while another: perhaps her sister or a friend does not. The gynecologists from University of Utah School of Medicine have a study called the ENDO study that took a new tact in the diagnosis of endometriosis. They reasoned that just because a woman wasn't diagnosed with endometriosis, it didn't mean she didn't have endometriosis. So they studied two groups of women. A group that had the diagnosis of endometriosis expected so they underwent surgery, and a group they called the population cohort, or simply a group that didn't have the diagnosis. They were specifically trying to get at thinks like environment and lifestyle that might be causing the condition, but first they wanted to study who gets it. Not completely surprising was the fact that based on MRI studies, which can only pick up advanced endometriosis. They found the surgery group had a 40% rate of endometriosis and the population group had an 11% rate of endometriosis. So endometriosis is common in women who don't think they actually have it. Infertility was the single factor in a woman's history that was the most predictive of endometriosis. Actually self reported "delayed time to get pregnant" was also predictive of having endometriosis. Women should be aware that endometriosis is common, it is treatable, and it is potentially diagnosed by non-invasive means. furthermore, women should see their gyno to see if they might have this important, but potentially over looked diagnosis.

Comments

  1. I was recently diagnosed with mild endo. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a few years now with no luck. If I were to do a 6 month treatment of Lupron, will this increase my chances of becoming pregnant when the treatment is complete? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Lupron? If it does not affect fertility after treatment, what would be the benefit of this drug other than to decrease pain? Thank you for your expertise.

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  2. Infertility is treated in a variety of ways. Much research states that ovulation induction, and management of that treatment is the fastest way to conceive. You have to have individual consultation to decide the best overall treatment for both endometriosis and infertility. The link between endometriosis and infertility is not completely clear. There is a "trend" towards infertility/subfertility with endometriosis, and the more advanced the stage the more likely a woman is to be infertile. for advanced cases of endometriosis pretreatment with medication, even lupron, may be beneficial, although some studies suggest surgery is associated with more rapid times to conception than medication. The other issue is whether you have a case of endometriosis that will progress if not treated. 30-60% of patients will progress without treatment, and we cannot predict which patients will progress. Lupron as a treatment is complex, I suggest reading what they have to say on their website for further information on it, will try to do posts on this therapy in the future.

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