Endometriosis is a painful disorder wherein tissue similar to the one that forms the lining of your uterus, grows outside your uterine cavity. The lining of your uterus is endometrium. This particular disorder normally occurs when the endometrial tissue grows on your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis.
While we know how endometriosis occurs, the questions around what causes it, still remain unanswered. Nevertheless, researchers seem to be at least one step closer to figuring what causes endometriosis bloating, as part of a recent study.
And the answer maybe related to genetics.
The researchers from Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Oxford, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, conducted a joint study on endometriosis. Their findings were recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
The research papers under the study seem to have uncovered a genetic reason for the disorder and has possibly identified a promising new drug.
What Causes Endometriosis Bloating? Specific Gene Seems Culprit
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The researchers conducted the study looking for insight into ways to treat endometriosis by performing genetic analyses on participants.
The data helped researchers identify a specific gene – NPSR1 – which increases the likelihood of an endometriosis diagnosis.
Researchers at Oxford University previously studied families that had at least three women with endometriosis. That study uncovered a genetic link between endometriosis and chromosome 7p13-15.
The team at Baylor College then used "in-depth sequencing analysis of the endometriosis families" at Oxford. This helped them narrow it down further to identify the genetic cause as the NPSR1 gene.
Furthermore, the study found that the majority of women carrying these genes suffered from Stage 3 or 4 endometriosis. The team also performed a genetic sequence on rhesus monkeys, and concluded with similar results.
The researchers at the Oxford University then conducted another study of 11,000 women, some of which had endometriosis. They then re-confirmed that the NPSR1 gene is consistent in women who received a third or fourth stage diagnosis.
Explaining the results, Dr Jeffrey Rogers, professor at Baylor College, said, "This is one of the first examples of DNA sequencing in nonhuman primates to validate results in human studies."
Findings Help To Develop Treatments
The study's findings are now helping researchers develop new treatments for endometriosis.
As Medical Xpress explains, researchers at Baylor used an "NPSR1 inhibitor to block protein signaling of that gene in cellular assays and then in mouse models of endometriosis," during their genetic analysis.
The inhibitor helped to reduce inflammation and abdominal pain. This opens a possibility of it being a regular treatment option for women suffering with endometriosis.
Potential Causes Of Endometriosis
Some of the previous theories around what causes endometriosis bloating include:
- Retrograde menstruation
- Surgical scar implantation
- Auto immune system disorder
Endometriosis brings a variety of risk factors with it including menstruating at an early age, never giving birth, heavy or painful menstrual periods, or beginning menopause at an older age.
Endometriosis can also cause painful menstrual cycles as well as fertility problems in women. It's also linked with cancer.
Endometriosis In Women Of Singapore
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A recent study concluded that there were more reports of women suffering from endometriosis in Singapore.
Read: Increased Number Of Women In Singapore Being Diagnosed With Endometriosis, Says Study
An endometriosis clinic at the National University Hospital (NUH) registered over 100-110 patients a month in 2021. That's an increase from 70 to 80 patients per month back in 2019.
The study concluded that some of the reasons for the rise in number of cases included an increase of awareness about the disorder. Fewer women having children was also seen as a potential reason, as well as delayed diagnosis.
Symptoms Of Endometriosis Bloating
Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods that not even painkillers can help relieve
- Painful poops and pees
- Experiencing pain during sex
- Heavier than normal bleeding during periods
In order to prevent more women from developing the condition, here’s what one can do:
- Having it treated as early as possible. Early diagnosis is important to keep the disease from getting worse.
- Changing one’s diet and lifestyle can also help reduce the risk of the condition
- More awareness surrounding the disease
“We have to recognise that impact of endometriosis extends beyond just the patient – it is not just simply a ‘woman’s disease’. It affects the social and economic impact of the patient, her family and close ones who have to suffer along with her, her marital life and fertility issues,” says Associate Prof Fong.
With reports from Nalika Unantenne.
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