A study reviewed research into the risk of comorbidities — other diseases — in women with endometriosis. Previous studies have suggested an association between endometriosis and many functional and/or pathological diseases, but none have attempted to clarify this relationship.
The report, “Women with endometriosis have higher comorbidities: Analysis of domestic data in Taiwan,” published in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association, was conducted by Sen-Wen Teng and colleagues from several departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Taiwan.
The review was prepared after analysis of domestic data published between 2012 and 2015, and the data used for these published articles were all obtained from a large-scale population-based study in Taiwan, the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD).
Investigators found that several studies reporting the association of diseases with endometriosis were sometimes discrepant, probably due to the fact that study populations were not always representative of the general population, or because different criteria was used to analyze results. These limitations do not allow the establishment of a strong relationship between endometriosis and certain illnesses.
Still, the researchers found evidence, from nationwide large-scale population-based studies, suggesting that women with endometriosis may be at a higher risk of several chronic diseases, including diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, chronic liver disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as fertility and pelvic inflammatory diseases, although they are possibly at a lower risk of chronic renal disease. Moreover, these women may have higher risks of certain malignancies, such as ovarian and uterine cancers.
“Women with endometriosis should be given much attention for medical care, since they not only have endometriosis-related health problems, such as dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia, and chronic pelvic pain, but also have many other medical illnesses,” the authors wrote. Future studies are required to understand whether endometriosis is indeed associated with a higher risk of comorbidities.
Endometriosis is characterized by the presence of viable extrauterine endometrial glands and stroma. These can grow or bleed cyclically and have a destructive, invasive, and metastatic nature, frequently leading to pelvic inflammation, adhesion, chronic pain, and infertility. Although considered a common gynecologic disorder, variations in the visual appearance of endometriosis make it difficult to determine the real incidence of this condition.