endometriosis

Early life sexual and physical abuse dramatically increases risk of endometriosis

Early life sexual and physical abuse dramatically increases risk of endometriosis

By I.Soussis MD

A prospective cohort study found that women reporting severe and/or chronic abuse of multiple types during childhood and adolescence had a 79% higher risk of laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis.

Severe abuse was defined as being kicked, bitten, punched or physically attacked more than once, or choked or burned ever, whereas severe sexual abuse was considered forced sexual activity during both childhood and adolescence.

“We saw stronger associations among women whose endometriosis was most likely diagnosed as a result of pelvic pain symptoms,” said lead author Holly Harris, ScD, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

Previous studies led by members of Dr. Harris’ research team had shown a connection between early life abuse and both uterine fibroids and hypertension. “Given recent links found between endometriosis and hypertension, one of the next logical steps was to examine the association between abuse and risk of endometriosis,” Dr. Harris told Contemporary OB/GYN.

For the study, which appeared in the journal Human Reproduction, data were collected from 60,595 premenopausal women from 1989 to 2013 as part of the Nurses’ Health Survey II cohort.

Participants completed a questionnaire on exposure to violence.

A total of 3,394 cases of endometriosis were diagnosed during 24 years of follow-up.

Overall, 34% of study participants reported moderate or severe physical abuse during early life and 11% of study participants reported forced sex, while 14% of women diagnosed with endometriosis had severe sexual abuse history.

“It is extremely important for readers, clinicians and women with or those who care about women with endometriosis to understand that these results absolutely do not imply that all women who have endometriosis have been abused,” Dr. Harris said. “Abuse in early childhood and adolescence is common among both women with and without endometriosis.”

The associations between abuse and endometriosis were stronger in women presenting without infertility. This group was also more likely to report pelvic pain.

“Sadly, childhood abuse is real, is a major public health issue, and can have long-lasting impacts on health,” Dr. Harris said. “In addition, for women with pelvic pain with or without endometriosis, it is important that they know that these symptoms are not normal.”

When these women raise concerns about their pain with clinicians, they should not be dismissed, no matter their age or history, according to Dr. Harris. “There is a growing body of evidence that pain sensitization can result from a physiologic response to the stress and trauma of abuse,” she said. “This occurs not only among women with endometriosis but also among women with other pain conditions.”

 

Read more: https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article-abstract/33/9/1657/5055017?redirectedFrom=fulltext

 

Source: http://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/endometriosis/does-abuse-affect-risk-endometriosis?rememberme=1&elq_mid=4894&elq_cid=607376&GUID=69980457-AFA5-43B0-B217-28D67525EA6C

Acupuncture found to be effective adjunctive treatment for endometriosis-related pain

Acupuncture found to be effective adjunctive treatment for endometriosis-related pain

By I.Soussis MD, Fertility Specialist

Endometriosis, Pain Management Meta-analysis of 3 studies of acupuncture for relief of endometriosis-related pain found positive results for reduction in pain intensity, according to research published in the Journal of Pain Research. This alternative and complementary therapy has been proven to be safe, with a low side-effect profile.

Swedish researchers performed a literature search for clinical trials, case reports, and observational studies with abstracts written in English using the keywords “acupuncture and endometriosis.” 

They retrieved 3 articles involving a total of 99 women with diagnosed endometriosis (stages I-IV) aged 13 to 40. All of the studies entailed acupuncture sessions during which 7 to 12 needles were inserted per subject and left in for 15 to 25 minutes. 

The needles were placed in the lower back,/pelvic area, lower abdominal area, feet, and/or hands. Depth of stimulation with the needles ranged from intracutaneous to subcutaneous to intramuscular, and the stimulation was primarily manual in nature. 

The number of treatments varied from 9 to 16 and occurred once or twice a week, and treatments were given in a hospital, acupuncturist’s office, or patient’s home. All of the studies reported a decrease in rated pain intensity, but differed in terms of research design, needle stimulation techniques, and the instruments used to evaluate the outcomes.

Two of the studies were prospective, randomized, single-blind, placebo/sham trials and the other was a retrospective observational case series study (n=2). The Visual Analog Scale, Numeric Rating Scale, and Verbal Rating Scale were used to measure patient-rated pain intensity. Subjects were permitted to continue using their standard analgesic in 2 studies.

The results indicated that no matter the specific technique used, acupuncture effectively and safely reduced pain intensity compared to baseline. One study found that acupuncture also reduced pain-related disability, and 2 studies found reduced analgesic intake and perceived stress. Likewise, 2 studies found that the therapy improved health-related quality of life, and social activity and attendance in school were increased after acupuncture treatment in the observational study.

 

Although acupuncture has been used for many years to relieve pain and has been noted to have few serious side effects, its use remains controversial due to a lack of understanding of its mechanism of action. 

The authors reported that “the pain-alleviating effects induced by acupuncture have been attributed to different physiological and psychological processes such as activation of endogenous descending pain inhibitory systems, deactivation of brain areas transmitting sensations of pain-related unpleasantness, interaction between nocioceptive impulses and somato-visceral reflexes, and as a method that induces the expectation of symptom relief.” 

They noted that currently available therapies for pain management in endometriosis patients are often ineffective or accompanied by adverse effects, and there is need for nonpharmacological interventions such as acupuncture. 

Source: http://www.contemporaryobgyn.net/endometriosis/acupuncture-found-be-effective-adjunctive-treatment-endometriosis-related-pain?rememberme=1&elq_mid=2570&elq_cid=607376

 

Fatigue is a common symptom of endometriosis

Fatigue is a common symptom of endometriosis

By I.Soussis MD,MSc,FRCOG, Fertility Specialist

Women with endometriosis experience debilitating fatigue more than twice as often as those who don’t have the condition, yet fatigue isn’t discussed or researched widely enough in these patients, a recent study concluded.

The international study found that high levels of fatigue experienced by women with endometriosis are independent of other factors, such as insomnia, pain, depression, occupational stress, weight, and motherhood.

The study “Fatigue – a symptom in endometriosis,” was published in the journal Human Reproduction.

Fatigue is a known symptom of endometriosis that affects the daily activities and quality of life of women living with the condition. But scientists and physicians lack large population studies investigating the frequency of fatigue in women with the disease.

Researchers designed a multicenter study that recruited 1,120 women (560 with endometriosis and 560 without it), at hospitals and private practices in Switzerland, Germany, and Austria between 2010 and 2016.

Participants responded to a questionnaire focused on several factors associating quality of life with endometriosis, as well as family and medical histories, mental disorders, and lifestyle. Fatigue and insomnia were classified at five different levels, with 1 being “never” and 5 being “very often.”

Responses showed that frequent fatigue was experienced by more than half of the women with endometriosis (50.7 percent) but by only a minority of women who didn’t have endometriosis (22.4 percent).

The study also found a link between fatigue in endometriosis and insomnia (women with endometriosis had a seven-fold increase in insomnia compared with healthy women), depression (a four-fold increase), pain (a two-fold increase), and occupational stress (nearly a 1.5-fold increase). However, no correlation was seen between the above symptoms and age, disease stage, and time since diagnosis.

Endometriosis leads to inflammation and an activation of the immune system, which may help to explain the link between endometriosis and fatigue, researchers said.

Proteins that are produced when the immune system is activated are known to be involved in fatigue symptoms. Also, chronic exposure to high stress can lead to fatigue, and researchers said this could be an additional explanation.

“These findings suggest that endometriosis has an effect on fatigue that is independent of other factors and that cannot be attributed to symptoms of the disease,” Brigitte Leeners, the study’s lead researcher and deputy head of the Department of Reproductive Endocrinology at the University Hospital Zurich, in Switzerland, said.

“We believe that in order to improve the quality of life for women with this condition, investigating and addressing fatigue should become a routine part of medical care, and doctors should investigate and address this problem when they are discussing with their patients the best ways to manage and treat the disease”. It would also help these women if steps were taken to reduce insomnia, pain, depression and occupational stress,” she added.

 

Read more: https://academic.oup.com/humrep/advance-article/doi/10.1093/humrep/dey115/5040620

Image credit: https://endometriosisnews.com/2018/03/16/endometriosis-causes-chronic-fatigue-more-than-feeling-tired/

Μεγάλη συμμετοχή στο Endomarch Greece 2018

endomarch ΣΟΥΣΗΣ
Με χαρά συμμετείχα στο Endomarch Greece, την πορεία που διοργανώνεται κάθε χρόνο στο πλαίσιο της ενημέρωσης για τη μυστηριώδη αυτή ασθένεια, που πλήτττει 1 στις 10 γυναίκες παγκοσμίως.
Είχα την ευκαιρία να ενημερώσω με ομιλία μου τους συμμετέχοντες για τα άριστα αποτελέσματα της εξωσωματικής γονιμοποίησης σε ασθενείς με ενδομητρίωση.
Η ενδομητρίωση προκαλεί έντονο πόνο κατά την περίοδο ή και την επαφή στις περισσότερες ασθενείς και πολλές φορές περνούν 5 έως και 10 χρόνια από την εμφάνιση των συμπτωμάτων μέχρι τη διάγνωση.
Η έγκαιρη διάγνωση και αντιμετώπιση της ενδομητρίωσης συμβάλλουν στην επιτυχή αντιμετώπιση της νόσου. Το χάσιμο χρόνου είναι ο μεγαλύτερος εχθρός της γονιμότητας.

Endometriosis and migraines

Endometriosis and migraines

By I.Soussis. MD,MSc, FRCOG

A new study of 391 adolescent girls in the Boston area revealed that those with a surgically diagnosed

endometriosis were more likely to suffer from migraines. The study was published in Fertility and Sterility.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which the endometrium grows outside the uterus, typically in the abdominal cavity or on internal organs. Patients often experience significant pain and discomfort during their period or intercourse. Endometriosis may also lead to infertility or hysterectomy.

Current diagnostic methods that rely on laparoscopy, which often patients try to avoid, are delaying the diagnosis typically five to 10 years from the onset of symptoms.

Τhe presence of migraine may be a useful clue to better early detection.

Researchers compared the self-reported frequency and pain of migraine among two populations: adolescent girls with surgically-diagnosed endometriosis and girls of a similar demographic with no such diagnosis.

After adjusting for differences in population, researchers found that those with endometriosis were 5 times more likely to suffer from migraine than the comparable group.

Researchers have also seen a close linear relationship between the severity of migraine pain and the odds of endometriosis. The more painful the migraine was, the more likely it was that a subject had endometriosis. In a scale of zero to ten, for each one point increase in pain the odds of endometriosis increased by 22%.

A serious limitation of this study is that girls who have confirmed endometriosis were more likely to have taken hormonal medications, which could increase the risk of migraines.

The results of this study seem to corroborate a rapidly growing body of evidence from other researchers who have drawn the same conclusion in adult women and it presents a useful signal to help us diagnose women more accurately and at a younger age.

 

Read more:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001502821732157X

Botox injection reduces chronic pelvic pain in endometriosis

Botox injection reduces chronic pelvic pain in endometriosis

By I. Soussis MD, MSc, FRCOG

Consultant Obstetrician- Gynaecologist, Fertility Specialist

An injection of botulinum toxin, commonly known as Botox, helped relieve chronic pelvic pain in women with endometriosis for up to 11 months, according to researchers.

The results of their study were presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in a presentation titled, “Botulinum Toxin Treatment of Chronic Pelvic Pain in Women with Endometriosis.”

Pelvic pain often persists despite optimal surgical/hormonal management in women with endometriosis, often associated with pelvic floor spasm.

Researchers offered women suffering from endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain an open injection of the botulinum toxin, called onabotulinumtoxinA, or onaBoNTA. Patients were participating in an ongoing placebo-controlled trial with the toxin.

Ten out of 13 women participating in the study requested the onaBoNTA injection, which was injected into the pelvic floor muscle in 100-unit doses (25 units/cc).

Patients were followed for at least three months after the injection and researchers assessed the injection effects by measuring the changes in spasm, pain, and disability.

At the beginning of the study (before their injection), eight of the 10 women who decided to get the injection had spasms in their pelvic muscles, accompanied by intense pain.

One month after the onaBoNTA injection, spasm rates were significantly reduced or completely absent from all patients. Most of the patients (8 out of 10) reported only mild or even an absence of pain. Their median score on a scale for measuring pain intensity, called  the visual analogue scale, or VAS, was 1.5.

The VAS scale goes from “no pain” (score of 0) and “pain as bad as it could be” or “worst imaginable pain” (the scale can be as high as 100). As a result, half of the women reduced their need for pain medication.

The disability was also improved in three of five women who showed a moderate disability prior to injection.

The effects of the onaBoNTA injection faded in three women six to 11 months after the injection. The three requested a new shot of onaBoNTA. Adverse events were mild and transient.

Overall, these findings show that “injection of onaBoNTA reduced pain, spasm, and disability for up to 11 months,” researchers wrote.

“Utility of botulinum toxin for endo-CPP (endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain) merits evaluation in controlled clinical trials,” the study concluded.

 

Read more: http://n.neurology.org/content/90/15_Supplement/P2.098

Source: https://endometriosisnews.com/2018/05/02/aan2018-botulinum-toxin-may-help-reduce-pelvic-pain-endometriosis/

Discovery promises early diagnosis of endometriosis

Discovery promises early diagnosis of endometriosis

By I.Soussis, MD, MSc, FRCOG, Fertility Specialist

 

Scientists from the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research announced an experimental, rapid and non-invasive way to diagnose endometriosis, which may lead to earlier and more effective treatments for this disorder that affects approximately 176 million women globally.

The scientists found that a particular feature of cells found in menstrual blood suggests that a patient has endometriosis, according to findings published in Molecular Medicine.

The simple test uses menstrual blood and takes only a few days to report. This is a dramatic improvement over current diagnostic methods that rely on laparoscopy, which patients try to avoid, delaying diagnosis typically five to 10 years from the onset of symptoms.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which the endometrium grows outside the uterus, typically in the abdominal cavity or on internal organs. Patients often experience significant pain and discomfort during their period or intercourse.  Endometriosis may also lead to infertility or hysterectomy.

Researchers at the Feinstein Institute established the Research Out-Smarts Endometriosis (ROSE) program to study the genetic basis of endometriosis and what is occurring at the cellular level in this disease. As part of ROSE, healthy women and others with endometriosis, provide peripheral and menstrual blood samples which are stored in a biobank so that they can be analysed in current and future research studies.

The recently-published study focused on the role of stromal fibroblasts, a type of stem cell found in menstrual blood, and the immune system. Professors Christine N.Metz, PhD and Peter K.Gregersen, MD, along with Laura A. Warren, an MD-PhD student at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell have led this research effort.

“The cause of endometriosis is not known. One theory is retrograde menstruation, which is where menstrual blood containing uterine tissue is transported into the abdominal cavity instead of out of the body. Almost all women experience retrograde menstruation, but we’re unsure why in some women this endometrial tissue latches on to the abdominal wall and internal organs and grows causing endometriosis,” said Dr. Metz. “In this study, we found that the stem cells in the menstrual blood of women with endometriosis are very different from those of healthy women and we are learning from these differences to develop a novel non-invasive diagnostic test.”

Metz and her colleagues observed that the menstrual blood of endometriosis patients contained a significantly smaller number of uterine natural killer (uNK) cells compared with healthy participants. In addition to this decrease, they observed that endometriosis patients’ stem cells showed impaired decidualization, a process that prepares the uterus for embryo implantation.

“Instead of having to undergo surgery to accurately diagnose endometriosis, these findings will enable us to develop a rapid test for endometriosis based on menstrual blood, which can be easily collected. This will allow medical professionals to know if someone is at risk of developing endometriosis and start treatment sooner, and it will help them monitor patients’ responses to treatment,” said Dr. Gregersen. “Endometriosis is a chronic, complex condition and improved understanding of this disease through studying menstrual blood is likely to drive personalization of new therapies.”

 

You can read the data published in Molecular Medicine, here:

https://molmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s10020-018-0009-6.

Source: https://www.feinsteininstitute.org/2018/03/feinstein-institute-discovery-promises-improved-diagnosis-understanding-endometriosis/

Image credit: http://healthizmo.com/endometriosis-what-you-need-to-know

Women with endometriosis and diffuse adenomyosis at higher risk for smaller babies, study suggests

Women with endometriosis and diffuse adenomyosis at higher risk for smaller babies, study suggests

By I.Soussis, MD, MSc,FRCOG

Fertility Specialist

Researchers have found that pregnant women with both endometriosis and diffuse adenomyosis have a nearly four times greater risk of carrying a baby that is small for its gestational age.

The study from Italy, was published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In the last decade, many studies have reported an association between endometriosis and major pregnancy-related complications, including spontaneous late miscarriage, preterm labor, fetuses small for gestational age (SGA), hypertension, pre-eclampsia, and other issues. But other studies have not reached similar conclusions.

Endometriosis is the disease that the endometrium, the tissue lining the uterus is located outside the uterus. Often is accompanied by adenomyosis, which refers to a condition where the tissue lining the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus.

The reported prevalence of adenomyosis in patients with endometriosis ranges from 20% to 50%. Previous studies have shown that adenomyosis can lead to an increased risk of adverse events in pregnancy, but few studies have paid close attention to the correlation between adenomyosis and pregnancy outcomes in patients with concurrent endometriosis.

Researchers set out to determine whether the maternal and fetal outcomes were different in women with endometriosis alone compared to endometriosis with either diffuse or focal adenomyosis.

Focal adenomyosis occurs in one particular site of the uterus, while diffuse adenomyosis is when the condition is spread throughout the uterus.

Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 206 pregnant women with endometriosis, of which 71.8% had endometriosis alone, 18.4% had endometriosis with focal adenomyosis (EFA) and 9.7% had endometriosis with diffuse adenomyosis (EDA).

Conventional risk factors associated with placental insufficiency such as BMI, PAPP-A levels, and mean uterine artery pulsatility index (UtA PI) in the first and the second trimester were found to be significantly associated with EDA, compared to patients with endometriosis alone. There were no statistically significant differences found in EFA patients.

 Interestingly, an analysis showed that EDA was the only independent risk factor for babies who were small for gestational age (SGA), with an overall higher risk of 3.74 in women with EDA compared to those with endometriosis alone.

SGA is a term used to describe a fetus that is smaller than average for the number of weeks of pregnancy.

One explanation for this result is that women with adenomyosis have imbalanced blood flow, with higher blood flow to the uterine adenomyosis area and lower blood flow to the placenta, which could lead to the reduced growth of the fetus.

“The current study shows that diffuse adenomyosis in pregnant women with endometriosis is strongly associated with SGA infants,” the study’s authors concluded.

They added that women with EDA should be treated as high-risk patients for placental dysfunction and should be more closely monitored.

Source: https://endometriosisnews.com/2018/01/03/women-endometriosis-diffuse-adenomyosis-higher-risk-smaller-babies/

Image credit:https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/getting-pregnant-with-endometriosis

Είναι η ενδομητρίωση γενετική νόσος;

Είναι η ενδομητρίωση γενετική νόσος;

Άρθρο του Ι. Σούση

Μαιευτήρα Γυναικολόγου, Ιατρού Αναπαραγωγής

Νέα μελέτη που δημοσιεύθηκε στην επιστημονική επιθεώρηση Nature εξέτασε τα δεδομένα 17,000 ασθενών που πάσχουν από ενδομητρίωση.

Βρέθηκε ότι γονίδια τα οποία παίζουν ρόλο στη δράση των γυναικείων ορμονών μπορεί να έχουν σημαντικό ρόλο και στην εμφάνιση της πάθησης.

Είναι ήδη γνωστό ότι η ενδομητρίωση είναι οιστρογονοεξαρτώμενη, αλλά οι μηχανισμοί ανάπτυξής της παραμένουν άγνωστοι.

Για να ρίξουν φως σε αυτούς ακριβώς τους μηχανισμούς, οι ερευνητές ανέλυσαν τα γενετικά δεδομένα ασθενών ευρωπαϊκής και ιαπωνικής καταγωγής. Συνολικά τα δεδομένα αφορούσαν 17.045 γυναίκες με ενδομητρίωση και 191.596 στην ομάδα ελέγχου.

Τα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας επιβεβαίωσαν το ρόλο για 9 από τα 11 γονίδια, τα οποία είχε διαπιστωθεί σε προηγούμενες ευρωπαϊκές μελέτες ότι παίζουν ρόλο στην ενδομητρίωση. Πέντε καινούρια γονίδια βρέθηκαν, που αυξάνουν σημαντικά τον κίνδυνο εμφάνισης ενδομητρίωσης και τα οποία επηρεάζουν τα μονοπάτια δράσης των γυναικείων ορμονών.

Αυτά τα ευρήματα μας δίνουν την ευκαιρία να κάνουμε πιο εξειδικευμένη λειτουργική έρευνα για τα αίτια της ενδομητρίωσης και πιθανόν να συμβάλλουν στην ανάπτυξη νέων φαρμάκων για τη θεραπεία της νόσου.

Μπορείτε να διαβάσετε τα αποτελέσματα της έρευνας εδώ:
https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15539#abstract


Image credit: https://gr.pinterest.com/pin/214484000981812885/

Men living with endometriosis: insights and experiences of male partners, living with women with endometriosis

Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of holohololand at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By I.Soussis MD

Hudson et al. from the UK, presented an interesting study at the latest ESHRE conference, held in Lisbon Portugal in June 2015.

The main question was: How do partners of women with endometriosis perceive the disorder and how do they help their wives/partners to deal with their symptoms and to seek medical help?

Endometriosis is a chronic gynaecological condition(disorder), affecting 5-15% of women, during their reproductive age.  The symptoms include painful menstruation, painful intercourse, tiredness, chronic pelvic pain and heavy periods.  Furthermore, 40% of visits to  fertility clinics are due to endometriosis.

Many studies show the negative effect endometriosis has on social and marital relations, as well as the help that the male partner provides.  However, most of these studies focus on the women’s experiences.

In this study “Endopart UK”, 22 heterosexual couples were interviewed.  The inclusion criteria were, a laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis and the cohabitation of the couple.  Both men and women were interviewed separately.

It was found that the impact endometriosis had on the daily lives of the men and on their feelings was impressive.

Every long term disorder affects the healthy partner, but endometriosis more than any other, because it affects the reproduction and sex life of the couple.

The partners took an active role during doctor’s appointments and helped their female partners to choose the right treatment. Their support during the implementation of the treatment was significant.

In the future, the treatment should not just focus on the woman, but should take into account the effect that endometriosis and its treatment have on the quality of the couple’s life and also that of the male partner.

ESHRE 2015, O-080: Men living with endometriosis:perceptions and experiences of male partners of women with the condition. N. Hudson, L.Culley, H. Mitchell, C.Law, E. Denny, N. Raine-Fenning

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