Menstrual cramps and pelvic pain can indicate endometriosis
Stressful menstrual cramps and pelvic pain in women can be triggered by what is known as endometriosis. However, most of those affected do not know what is causing their problems. In the United States alone, about five million women are affected by the disease, which in turn can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.
Some women experience severe pelvic pain during their period. These can be associated with excess growth of the endometrium. The researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that endometriosis causes pain and can lead to infertility. In addition, the risk of coronary heart disease is increased. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes".
There is currently no complete cure for endometriosis
Endometriosis affects the uterine tissue. The disease can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the intestine, or on the bladder. Many girls and women don't know that stressful menstrual cramps and pelvic pain can sometimes be attributed to endometriosis, lead author Missmer said in a statement to the Reuters news agency. According to the expert, girls and women can be treated by surgery that removes the endometrial foci or they use hormonal drugs to treat the disease. But there is currently no complete cure, Missmer continued. The researchers used the data from more than 116,000 women from a long-term study that ran from 1989 to 2009. Around 5,200 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis were among the subjects, the experts say.
Women with endometriosis are three times more likely to develop coronary heart disease
Women with endometriosis were more likely to develop a heart attack and more often needed coronary bypass or stent surgery. In addition, those affected suffered from tightness and chest pain, which can be a sign of coronary artery disease, the doctors explain. The increased risk of these conditions mostly affected women up to the age of 40. Women with endometriosis had heart disease three times more often than women without endometriosis. The risk of developing heart disease as a result of endometriosis decreased with age, the scientists say.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women
If women had their womb or ovaries removed, their risk of some chronic inflammation increased, the doctors report. Chronic inflammation in turn leads to increased oxidative stress and a higher cholesterol level. Linked to endometriosis, this compound can increase the risk of heart disease, said Missmer. Endometriosis and coronary heart disease can also share a common genetic susceptibility. Surgical and hormonal treatment after an endometriosis diagnosis can affect the risk of cardiovascular disease, but a certain risk remains and cannot be completely removed, the experts say. It is important for affected women of all ages to pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. In addition, regular examinations for heart diseases by doctors should be carried out, because even today heart diseases are still the most common cause of death in women, warn the doctors. However, further research is needed to better understand relationships and impacts. (as)