Scientists have made an exciting new discovery in relation to the cause of endometriosis. Up until now, the exact cause of the condition has been relatively unknown. This had made it difficult for experts to develop a cure to help those with the condition.
Now, with this new potential cause identified, scientists are hopeful that it will pave the way for a cure.
New study reveals cause of endometriosis pain
Researchers from Edinburgh and Warwick Universities discovered that a white blood cell known as Macrophages, was responsible for the pain experienced during endometriosis. It was revealed that the pain occurred when these cells experienced changes caused by the condition.
The study was carried out on mice, as well as cells, with the aim to establish the mechanistic role of Macrophages, in terms of producing the pain associated with the condition. Through the research, it was discovered that these white blood cells produce increased IGF-1. They also discovered that by adding IGF-1 from these Macrophages into cells, helped to promote activation and growth of the cells.
The most interesting finding was that by blocking the IGF-1 cell receptor in mice, the pain could be reversed. This is one of the biggest revelations within endometriosis studies in recent times. The findings suggest that by blocking the IGF-1 cell receptor in women who have endometriosis, it could potentially stop, or at least reduce, the pain associated with the condition.
The results of the study were published within the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal. Further studies will need to be carried out on humans to determine whether this could be a viable treatment of the condition.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is known to be a lifelong condition which causes sometimes excruciating pain. It causes tissue, which is similar in structure to the lining of the womb, to develop in places such as the ovaries and the womb.
The condition is thought to affect 1 in 10 women in the UK, most common in those aged 30 and 40 years old. Common symptoms include pain, inflammation and potential fertility issues. Periods can be particularly painful, and as of yet, there is no cure available. However, there are some treatment options which may help to reduce the symptoms.
What current endometriosis treatment options are available?
Women who are suffering from endometriosis may not yet have access to a cure, but there are some effective treatments available.
If there is a build-up of scar tissue or lesions, they can be potentially removed via surgery. There are also effective hormonal treatments which can help to reduce some of the symptoms of the condition. However, these can present numerous side effects, so this is something patients need to be aware of. If there are issues with fertility, you can also book a consultation with a fertility expert to find out what your options are to increase your chances of conceiving.
Although it will take a number of years for any form of cure to be produced from this recent research, it still provides hope to the millions of sufferers of endometriosis.