Endometriosis is Autoimmune Illness

Autoimmune illnesses are like cancer in that autoimmunity is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases across a number of different medical specialties including rheumatology, endocrinology, hematology, neurology, cardiology, gastroenterology and dermatology.  Because individual specialists focus on singular diseases within their field of expertise, there is very little focus on autoimmunity as the underlying cause.  I’ve seen a number of websites – most put incidence figures anywhere between 5% and 20% of a population.

What’s the actual definition of autoimmune disease?  According to MedicineNet.com “Autoimmune disease: An illness that occurs when the body tissues are attacked by its own immune system.”

Who is at risk?  Again, MedicineNet.com says “Autoimmune diseases are more frequent in women than in men. It is felt that the estrogen of females may influence the immune system to predispose some women to autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, the presence of one autoimmune disease increases the chance for developing another simultaneous autoimmune disease.”

I wanted to write about endometriosis and autoimmunity because, like mice, where you find one, you’re likely to find several.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve got two so far:

  • Endometriosis
  • Lichen Planus – skin lesions

For many years women with endometriosis were thought to have a hypersensitivity to pain.  The autoimmune nature of Endometriosis was confirmed in 2008 when researchers at National Jewish Hospital inDenverdiscovered endometrial antibodies.  This coupled with retrograde menstrual tissues give rise to endometriosis lesions.  Read on for more information:

http://www.suite101.com/content/autoimmune-endometriosis-a69459

Of course I concentrate on my most debilitating autoimmune illness but there are a lot out there!  If you’ve not been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and are wondering about general symptoms, these include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Infertility
  • Haemoptysis
  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Rash
  • Diarrhoea

This list rings a few bells with me.  I’ve always had a fever – low-grade but I’ve always been warm.  Mom, do you remember how I’ve always had a low-grade fever?  My ex-husband used to call me “radiator woman” and put his icy feet on me.  To this day I prefer colder climates to hot ones due to my constant slight fever.

Wishing us all a healthy future.

Foxy

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3 thoughts on “Endometriosis is Autoimmune Illness

  1. Fascinating. I knew that with the presence of endometrial lesions, that the body will initialize an immune response in order to heal the endometriosis or “attack” it which ends up in the formation of adhesions and scar tissue.
    Endometriosis is fueled by estrogen.. So in a sense, the disease keeps growing despite the body just acting naturally to hormone responses and foreign invaders (which would be the lesions that shouldn’t be there).

    It’s a confusing disease indeed. Still, nobody knows what causes endometriosis to happen in the first place. One theory is retrograde menstruation but many women have that without developing endometriosis. Another I read which I wish I kept the link to was an gynaecologist’s theory that women with endo tend to have poorer immune systems resulting in the misplaced endometrial cells not being destroyed as they should have. What are your thoughts on that?

  2. Hi Marcina! Nice to be able to chat to you here as well as Twitter.

    Thanks for your comment. I see your gynaecologist’s theory and raise you some new information.

    http://www.livingwithendometriosis.org/2010/12/29/chromosome-1-and-7-more-likely-to-induce-endometriosis/

    and

    http://endometriosis.org/news/research/genome-wide-association-study-identifies-dna-predisposing-women-to-endometriosis/

    I only discovered this new information by luck as I was doing some extra research for Endometriosis Awareness month last month. It turns out that a possible cause is a couple genetic variants on chromosome 1 and 7.

    Also, I really like the “Living with Endo” site – I wish I’d written “The Letter from Survivors”!

    I hope you’re feeling better after your surgery mate. Keep me posted as to progress after your follow up in May.

    Take care
    Foxy

  3. Pingback: Endometriosis is Autoimmune Illness | Foxy in the Waiting Room - i Health Plus

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