Finally, Some Exciting Progress For Finding The Root Cause Of Endometriosis

·2-min read

Affecting around 176 million people worldwide, endometriosis is a painful condition that takes on average eight years to be diagnosed and can cause debilitating symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, depression, and even infertility.

Despite being so common, this life-altering disease is often misunderstood and the causes of it are unclear. However, the largest ever study conducted on endometriosis has revealed that it has significant overlap in genes with a number of other painful conditions, such as migraines. 

Researchers at the University of Oxford, in collaboration with 25 teams across the world, compared the genomes of 60,000 women with endometriosis and 700,000 women without the disease. The next largest study on the subject considered only 17,000 cases of endometriosis.

Findings Offer Hope For Future Treatment And Diagnosis

Currently, endometriosis sufferers struggle to be treated for the condition. This is reported to be in part because the wide-ranging symptoms can make the disease difficult to diagnoseand because the only way to diagnose the disease for certain is through laparoscopic surgery. 

Additionally, past research mostly focused on females of a reproductive age as it was thought to only affect them but realistically, endometriosis can impact people who are no longer menstruating, people who don’t identify as women and even people assigned male at birth.

According to Sally Mortlock, a molecular bioscientist at the University of Queensland in Australia, the findings in this report should allow future researchers to figure out exactly what the genes in the overlapped regions do and could in turn help experts to develop new drug treatments for endometriosis sufferers.

She added ‘perhaps in some cases, we need to be designing pain treatments rather than hormonal treatments’.

The research team also discovered a shared genetic basis for endometriosis and a range of other chronic pain conditions.

Endometriosis Symptoms To Look Out For 

Endometriosis has a wide range of symptoms and can vary in severity, too. However, some common symptoms of the condition according to the NHS are: 

  • Pain in the lower tummy or back, usually worse around your period

  • Period pain that stops you doing your normal activities

  • Pain during or after sex

  • Pain when peeing or pooing during your period 

  • Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your pee or poo during your period 

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

  • Heavy periods

If you’re struggling with these symptoms, make a note of when they’re happening in relation to your menstrual cycle and speak to your GP.