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Health 'Unexpected finding': Obese women more likely to have severe endometriosis

04:06  12 june  2018
04:06  12 june  2018 Source:   smh.com.au

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' Unexpected finding ': Obese women more likely to have severe endometriosis . A new study involving more than 500 Australian women , including Ms Panetta, has found women with a healthy body mass index (BMI) are more likely to have endometriosis , as suspected, but obese women

Obese women are more likely to have severe endometriosis , a misunderstood condition that affects one in 10 women , an Australian The study of 500 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis found women with a healthy body mass index were more likely to have endometriosis , but obese

Professor Jason Abbott from UNSW.© Endometriosis Australia Professor Jason Abbott from UNSW. As Jessica Panetta describes her daily battle with chronic pain, she pauses, and then takes a few short breaths. She apologises, explaining that sometimes it hurts to breathe.

Ms Panetta, 32 from Melbourne, is one of the estimated 700,000 Australian women with endometriosis, a little understood disease in which tissue, similar to what normally lines the uterus, grows in other parts of the body, causing pain.

In her case, it's taken root in her chest cavity and engulfed her diaphragm, not only making it hard for her to breathe, but on her worst days, laugh, sneeze and cry.

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' Unexpected finding ': Obese women more likely to have severe endometriosis . Researchers have found new and interesting links between weight and endometriosis , a disease affecting 700,000 Australian women .

Researchers have found new and interesting links between weight and endometriosis , a disease affecting 700,000 Australian women .

"During a flare up, it's like barbed wires are being pulled through my ribs," said Ms Panetta, who wants to work but has been deemed to have total permanent disability. "On a good day, I'm still taking painkillers every four hours."

A new study involving more than 500 Australian women, including Ms Panetta, has found women with a healthy body mass index (BMI) are more likely to have endometriosis, as suspected, but obese women are more likely to have severe forms of it.

With endometriosis, there is no correlation between severity of disease, which is divided into four stages, and intensity of pain.

Jessica Panetta lives with chronic pain caused by endometriosis.© Joe Armao Jessica Panetta lives with chronic pain caused by endometriosis.

The researchers, from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne, said the results highlighted the "complex interaction" between the disease, BMI and pain.

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' Unexpected finding ': Obese women more likely to have severe endometriosis squib. by The Sydney Morning Herald 12 days ago. Researchers have found new and interesting links between weight and endometriosis , a disease affecting 700,000 Australian women .

Obese women are more likely to have severe endometriosis , a misunderstood condition that impacts 1-in-10 women , an Australian study has found . The study of 500 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis found women with a healthy body mass index were more likely to have

It's been suggested that only "skinny" women get endometriosis, but the study shows the average sufferer has a BMI in the upper healthy range, not "skinny" or underweight.

The study also corroborates the link between endometriosis and metabolism, as earlier research has shown that sufferers are more likely to have high cholesterol.

"The finding [that women who are obese are more likely to have severe disease] is unexpected to a degree because normally women who are obese have higher oestrogen levels, which is usually something that comes across with women who have endometriosis," lead researcher Sarah Holdsworth-Carson said.

"We’re unsure what this means, whether it shows the disease progresses more quickly in obese women, or whether they show fewer symptoms in the earlier stages of the disease and therefore not seeking treatment."

The study involved 509 women of reproductive age who reported pelvic pain and underwent laparoscopic surgery at the Royal Women’s Hospital. Of those, 357 had surgically confirmed endometriosis.

Not just 'skinny' women get endometriosis

  Not just 'skinny' women get endometriosis A study has found obesity is linked to severe endometriosis, rejecting the idea the disease only affects 'skinny' women.Obese women are more likely to have severe, a misunderstood condition that impacts one-in-10 women, an Australian study has found

Endometriosis can affect women who have had children and can occur in teenagers and young women . Some specialists feel that endometriosis is more likely to be found in women who have never Stage III — moderate endometriosis and IV — severe endometriosis consists of multiple

Observing that women with the most severe form of endometriosis happen to be unusually attractive, researchers in Italy speculate that the The women also completed a questionnaire about their sexual history, and the results showed that women with severe endometriosis were more likely to have

The results are some of the first to come from a larger study investigating the genetic drivers of the "tricky" disease.

Endometriosis is under-researched, under-diagnosed and under-recognised, according to the federal government's draft National Action Plan, leading to long delays in diagnosis and therefore treatment.

Dr Holdsworth-Carson said researchers were at the early stages of understanding the disease and desperate for more funding.

Sarah Holdsworth-Carson is an endometriosis researcher at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.© Supplied Sarah Holdsworth-Carson is an endometriosis researcher at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

"We need simple measures that doctors can use ... by calculating their BMI, it’s a simplistic way of providing the phenotype of a patient. There is a need for patient stratification," she said.

"The current staging system is based on what the surgeon sees during surgery and has no correlation with pain symptoms, so that's one of the inadequacies."

A clinical application, she said, was that surgeons needed to be aware of the need to provide more time for surgery in obese women as they were more likely to have extensive endometriosis requiring removal.

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' Unexpected finding ': Obese women more likely to have severe endometriosis - Esther Han The Sydney Morning Herald Thank you to Dr Sarah Holdsworth-Carson and T he Royal Women 's Hospital for conducting Australia's largest study into endometriosis which has uncovered who is

Rectovaginal or bowel endometriosis affects approximately 5-12% of women with endometriosis , and can cause severe pain with bowel A 20-year study of 12,000 women with endometriosis found that women under 40 who are diagnosed with endometriosis are 3 times more likely to have heart

Professor Jason Abbott, medical director at Endometriosis Australia, said it was too early to say what the findings meant for women with endometriosis, dubbed a "silent epidemic".

"We do know that the cause of endometriosis is about 50 per cent related to your genetics and genes are also important in obesity," he said.

"It may be that the gene that 'turns on' endometriosis has a 'turn off' effect on weight gain. Clearly the more we know around the causes and these links, we may have better answers to a whole variety of diseases and better treatment options for endometriosis."

He encouraged all women to look after their health and weight.

"It is imperative that a general healthy weight range be maintained for the benefits that go well beyond reproductive health and endometriosis. Being in a healthy weight range improves fertility and an exercise program is good for heart, bone and mental health," he said.

"Women with endometriosis who have pain or fertility issues will always benefit from being in a healthy weight range and having good exercise habits."

Ms Panetta, who is a healthy weight and led an active lifestyle before the pain became too extreme, said the findings gave her a "glimmer of hope".

Despite feeling pain since she was 13, she was only diagnosed with endometriosis at 22. She has endured eight surgeries but is still in "agonising" pain.

"I’ve met so many women with so many different cases of endo and they come from so many backgrounds and are all different shapes and sizes, so it’s hard to say what this study means to me," she said.

"On behalf of myself and my endo sisters, we're incredibly thankful for all the researchers trying to help us, because even if it's not a cure, they're trying to find something that can help us manage the pain."

The study - the world’s largest to compare BMI with endometriosis that has been surgically diagnosed - has been published in the latest Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders.

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