Toxic Chemicals, Endometriosis and Chronic Illness

A study appearing in Toxicology Science[2001; 59(1):147-59] demonstrated that animals with elevated serum levels of dioxin and chemicals similar to dioxin had a high prevalence of endometriosis, and the severity of disease correlated with the serum concentration of the toxic chemical. Research appearing in Human Reproduction [2005; 20 (1):279-85 (ISSN: 0268 -1161)] tested blood levels of PCBs in women with endometriosis and concluded that anti estrogenic PCBs may be associated with the development of endometriosis. Research appearing in Fertility and Sterility [2005; 84(2):305-12 (ISSN: 1556-5653)] also found a connection between the body burden of PCBs and similar chemicals to the incidence of endometriosis.

Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), George Washington University, and the Endometriosis Association conducted a cross sectional survey of 3,680 women with surgically diagnosed endometriosis. The study was published in the journal, Human Reproduction [2002;17(10):2715-2724].

In this study, they found an increased incidence of many chronic and autoimmune diseases in women with endometriosis compared to the general population. Allergies occurred in over 60% of the endometriosis patients compared to the 18% in the general population. Hypothyroidism was seven times more common, chronic fatigue syndrome was more than 100 times more common, and fibromyalgia was nearly twice as common in endometriosis patients. Endometriosis patients also had an increased incidence of autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. Thus the incidence of chemical exposure and endometriosis, as well as other illnesses seem to be correlated.

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