Pesticides linked to increased risk of Endometriosis.

Recently published research from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have indicated a link between endometriosis risk and pesticide use.  The study published in Environmental Health Perspectives consisted of over 250 women with surgically confirmed Endometriosis (the only reliable way to confirm a diagnosis of Endometriosis) and a control group of 538 women between the years of 1996 and 2001.

Within the context of past studies of organochloride pesticides indicating estrogenic properties, this indicated a potential to increase the risk of conditions such as Endometriosis which are estrogen driven, until now larger scale studies have not examined the potential risk in relation to exposure to any great depth.

The study concludes

In our case–control study of women enrolled in a large health care system in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, serum concentrations of β-HCH and mirex were positively associated with endometriosis. Extensive past use of environmentally persistent OCPs in the United States or present use in other countries may affect the health of reproductive-age women.”


Mirex pesticides have been banned in many countries, for example the United States banned it in 1976, prior to this it was in widespread use in order to prevent the spead of fire ants.

β-HCH or  beta-Hexachlorocyclohexane is a byproduct of lindane also a banned pesiticde since at least 1985 – however studies as recent as 2009 have found that the chemical still exists in water and soil across used areas.  it is also foudn pesent in many people with tentative links to Parkinsons and Alzheimers  (Medscape Medical News – July 2009).  With its long life and prolonged existence in the environment this is of ongoing concern for women with an increased risk of Endometriosis.


Possible cause of Endometriosis Found.

In the british press and some medical journal sites an intresting story appeared today.

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified an enzyme which could be a cause of endometriosis.

Below are links to the Daily Mail article (bit short on facts) and a link to an article on breakthrough digest (bit more technical – more detail).

The bottom line is that an enzyme which is not normally seen in the body except in the lining of the womb is present in women with endometriosis outside of the womb and some cancer cells.

Telomerase is an enzyme normally released by cells in the lining of the womb early on in the menstrual cycle, however women with endometriosis also appear to release the enzyme during the later stages of the cycle, this causes the cells to continue to divide and replicate (and is one of the reasons why it exists in cancer cells).

As a result of this these cells divide more often and can survive longer outside the womb to implant themselves in other parts of the body – where they continue to thrive. Of course this continued survival is culmulative and gets worse as more cells exist outside where they should.

There is also a link being drawn to infertility as these cells may make the womb less hospitable to newly fertilised eggs / embryo’s thus causing implantation to not be successful.

The cyclical nature of this also co-incides with many women’s pain cycles with Endometriosis, even when pain occurs elsewhere in the body to the pelvic region.

Daily Mail Article

Breakthrough Article

Genetic Link to Endometriosis – Unique Icelandic Study Provides Further Proof

An article that was released in Febrtuary of 2002, stated that “A woman has more than five times the normal risk of developing endometriosis if her sister has the disease, according to research published today (Thursday 28 February) in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction*.”

The full article can be found at SciTecLibrary. (original article no longer available) – an alternative overview is here:

I apologise for the delay in posting this article. I did have it saved in my file folder but things were very hectic at that time due to projects and midterms.

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