There are many statements made about endometriosis and many of them are not factual. This goes for the statement that Endometriosis is an autoimmune disease. In this article I will explain why this statement is false, and not true, and the reasoning behind it.
Everyday I get people telling me all sorts of facts and fictions they have heard on Dr Google. As I always say to people, Dr Google is not a reliable source of health information, unless it is from peer reviewed medical sites. Even then these sites are pretty much restricted to the general public.
Many people are looking for the miracle cure for endometriosis, or the holy grail of causes of it, and why wouldn’t you if this was affecting your life. I know from personal experience with health issues, I do want to know what the cause is and how to treat it.
But like so many conditions many people face each day, sometimes there is no answer just yet. Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and that is just how it is. When this is the case for a disease, I always tell my patients to not get caught up so much on the cause, but rather do the known treatments and management to get better. This is what really matters the most. Plus, like any disease, we need to look at treating the individual and not treat the masses.
Many diseases like endometriosis need a multi-modality approach to treat them effectively and this how I treat my patients and why I have so much success with treating endometriosis. It is about employing the right treatments and treatments that work.
Endometriosis does not fit the classification of an Autoimmune Disease.
What we do know is that endometriosis is made worse through diet and lifestyle and external influences. We also know that internally there are many things that exacerbate endometriosis too. Behind it all, it is an inflammatory based disease. Any inflammation in the body makes it worse. Plus, endometriosis itself can inflame the body too.
Endometriosis is very much an ‘autoimmune like’ disease, because inflammation is a major driving factor, but it isn’t an autoimmune disease. Endometriosis does not fit the classification of an autoimmune disease as it does not produce auto-antibodies. We also know that endometriosis is normal tissue growing in abnormal areas. Again not producing auto-antibodies.
What we do know
We know that retrograde menstruation is a big factor for some women, but we also know that retrograde menstruation isn’t a factor for others. What we do know is that estrogen is a big driving factor and that endometriosis is estrogen driven. It isn’t from estrogen dominance, or estrogen excess either. What we do know about endometriosis, is that like autoimmune diseases, it is also passed on via genetic and hereditary factors. But again, endometriosis is not an autoimmune disease and does not fit the classifications of an auto-immune disease at this stage.
Like many diseases we get in our body, we often have other disease states expressed at the same time and can be purely coincidental. Some can come from hereditary factors and people are just predisposed to getting this diseases and when the body is inflamed, it just causes this other diseases to be expressed too. If someone has an autoimmune disease and also has endometriosis, this does not mean that endometriosis is autoimmune. There are many women who have endometriosis and who do not have autoimmune diseases as well.
Inflammation is a driving factor
If a woman has an autoimmune disease at the same time as endometriosis, this is purely coincidental, or it is another hereditary factor that may have been passed onto them through their parent. It needs to be treated independently and not as part of endometriosis. It is all inflammation at the end of the day, so addressing inflammation and immune response will not only help the secondary autoimmune disease, but it will also help the endometriosis.
I’ve talked about the facts and fictions of endometriosis before and we really cannot say endometriosis is an autoimmune disease, because there is no credible, or conclusive research to back that up at this stage.There maybe in the future, but at this stage there is not, so we cannot say that endometriosis is an autoimmune disease.
Is the immune system and inflammation a part of endometriosis? … It sure is
Is endometriosis and autoimmune disease? … It isn’t at this stage
Hope this helps to shed some more light on this disease that affects so many women around this world. Hopefully one day soon we will have all the answers and we can end the horrible world of endometriosis.
If you want to find out more about how endometriosis is not an autoimmune disease, have a read of this great article by A/Prof Jason Abbott from Endometriosis Australia’s page. Click Here
Dr Andrew Orr
-Women’s Health Expert
-No Stone Left Unturned
-“Period Pain is Not Normal”