Tomatoes help Endometriosis?

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As promised, more on alternative treatments for Endometriosis sufferers.

As readers of this site know, Endometriosis causes Pain due to the tissues that would normally be found in the womb being found elsewhere in the body, various complications surround this, such as adhesions due to the body reacting to the tissues presence etc..

However a study has found (preliminary results) that the chemical found in tomatoes (and watermelons) which is responsible for their red colouration may help to reduce symptons.  The chemical Lycopene has been known to be an anti-oxident for a quite a while, and has been linked to having benefits for cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

The specific aspect which may give relief is in the preventing of adhesions, these are formed around damaged cells, often thought to be part of the bodies immune response to injuries.  With the higher stages of Endometriosis it is not unusual for a surgeon to see webs of adhesions binding internal organs together during laproscopic surgery due to the Endometrial growths.

The Lycopene appears to inhibit the growth of these, therefore inhibiting one of the major suspected causes of pain in chronic sufferers.  The study was undertaken on culture cells, by Dr Dbouk, the cultures measured the formation of proteins which the body uses as markers for iniating the adhesion cell growth, in the cultures these proteins were reduced by 80 – 90%.

Dr Dbouk told the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in San Francisco “What we found in our laboratory study is that lycopene can help with the adhesions that these conditions cause,” he said. “One of the major complications of endometriosis is that it causes inflammation which induces adhesions.

“The inflammation basically causes scarring. What we did was to look at protein markers that could help us trace the activity of the abnormal cells that cause these adhesions. The lycopene worked to reduce the abnormal activity of these cells.

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“This means that you would not get the adhesions, which suggests that lycopene could work to mitigate the complications and ailments of endometriosis. So, hypothetically speaking, we might be able to reduce the adhesion effects of endometriosis.”

 

At this time there has been no study done to determine how much of the chemical is actually transmitted in the body from consumption in the diet, so whilst theoretically it is possible to postulate that the chemical may be available in high enough quantities to make a difference to Endometriosis sufferers there is no clinical evidence yet.

 

However you can take one very good bit of news if you don’t like raw tomatoes – ketchup contains the chemical as well, so there’s no reason to stop using it!

 

This story has been reported by many sources, including Marie Claire, Times Online, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail.  As a result we are confident that this story is valid and people can indeed carry on eating Tomatoes.

Alternative treatments

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Starting a new series of articles – we are going to look at some alternative therapies that may help endometriosis sufferers.

Whilst these are largely conjecture – we hope to help inform people and give reasons for these therapies working and back it up with any study data we can locate.  

This is to counter the crack-pot “cures” that do not exist and are proliferating the Endometriosis communities now, especially “cures” which are deamed authoritive because one person got relief, with no science behind them or cures.  Often these can be more dangerous if the advice is followed naively.

As they say… stay tuned for this series which will be semi-regular, in that we will update it when we get the information ourselves!

What causes Endometriosis? Where we are in 2008.

As research into Endometriosis is gathering pace, it’s maybe worth having a look at some of the suggested reasons for endometriosis.  At the moment there is still no definitive answer, indeed there may be more than one cause – or a combination of causes.

One of the most promising theories is genetic.

There is extensive evidence that families where one person has endometriosis have a propensity for other female members to have this.  The biggest problem with this theory is that the actual cause is not explained.  Some families appear to have a high percentage of Endometriosis sufferer’s, whereas other families can have only one member over several generations.

This is complicated by the fact that only women with actual painful symptons tend to be available to base studies on, or ones who are having surgery which may lead to the discovery of endometriosis, without several comprehensive blind studies the genetic traits theory cannot be confirmed.

 

There is an increasing belief that exposure to pollutants and chemicals may be an underlying cause.  This has been backed up by several studies which indicate that exposure to dioxins may increase the chance of the endometriosis occuring.  How this occurs has not been explained consistently in these studies, however they have indicated that in areas where exposure to dioxins (pesticides and modern cleansing methods such as use of industrial scale bleaching products) endometriosis is higher.  This is also quoted as a reason why Endometriosis was effectively unknown until modern times, despite extensive anatomy records that date back further.

 

Hormones

Blamed for many things – a hormonal imbalance has been suggested to be one of the causes, allowing the cells to grow and propagate more extensively – and therefore cause more problems – in women with a hormone imbalance.

There are ongoing studies in this matter and pharmacautical companies are continuing developing therapies to correct balances which they hope will be of use in treating endometriosis – or even those at risk from it.

Immune System problems

Often people with Endometriosis have indications of other Immune System problems, such as IBS, Chronic Fatigue, or just general bad health.  Some of this is attributed to dealing with the pain from Endometriosis which can run down the body. 

However the theory is that in those where endometrosis is causing the most pain – as the amount of endometriosis is known not to directly influence the pain a woman can feel. It is thought that a fully functioning immune system may well eliminate the endometrial cells which occur (possibly due to retrograde menstuation) – therefore it may be that endometriosis occurs more frequently than believed, but the body eliminates the cells before they implant.

When the immune system is damaged – or for some reason does not recognise the endometrial cells , then the endometriosis causes symptons etc..  This is also cited as a possible reason for some people being able to fight cancer cells more effectively than others, as some people’s body may recognise the rogue cells more readily and combat the spread.

 

As time passes progress is being made on endometriosis and hopefully, in the near future some of these theories will be put to the test and may be eliminated or expanded upon – and ultimately universal agreement of a cause, which may allow full and complete treatment of this disease.

New drug is approved for endometriosis pain..

This relates to our U.S. readers only at present as far as we are aware – if anyone has other info let us know.

First new treatment to be approved for Endometriosis in 15 years.  

Depo subQ provera 104 (yes it’s a mouthful – a form of Depo Provera) has been approved for treatment – the drug is made by Pfeizer and contains 104 mg medroxyprogesterone acetate and can treat endometriosis pain as effectively as leuprolide acetate, but is associated with significantly less bone loss over the course of treatment.

It also has fewer side effects also associated with prior treatments.  

 

Hopefully this will benefit many sufferers as one of the major problems with previous treatments, as our readers will know, is the bone density loss, which if not monitored has led to problems for people in later life, along with some very severe side-effects to sensitive people.  

Anyone who has treatment from this new drug please get in touch with us and let us know by emailing info@endosupp.com .

Radical Hysterectomy for cancer more complicated with Endometriosis

Just spotted this little snippet on the bbc:  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7612083.stm

With Jade Goody set to undergo a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with cervical cancer. Earlier this month there have been a few articles about the treatment of cervical cancer and hysterectomy’s, in this BBC article a mention is made to Endometriosis, which apparently makes such surgery more difficult.

It doesn’t go into detail, however we suspect it’s due to the presence of scar tissue where operations have been undertaken previously, along with, in extreme cases, acute adhesions which can distort and weld the organs together making such work difficult, if anyone can point us to any information about increased risk or difficulties due to Endo in this sort of treatment let us know.

 

when it comes to cancer, a hysterectomy is not as straightforward as it can be when done for other conditions.

“With a simple hysterectomy the cervix and the womb are removed and it could take less than an hour,” Kehoe explains.

“But for cancer we do a radical hysterectomy where we remove the womb, cervix, some of the vagina and the lymph nodes in the pelvis to make sure the disease hasn’t spread.”

This more major surgery is more likely to take two to three hours or even much longer if there are complications.

“You might find the disease has spread to other areas that you hadn’t anticipated or you might get technical difficulties for example if the woman has endometriosis,” he says.

Doctors Try New Approach To Treating Endometriosis

From http://wjz.com/local/doctors.endometriosis.treatment.2.815382.html 

This article talks about a new approach being tried to treat the pain of Endometriosis, by combining aromatase inhibitors with the drug Lupron.  This appears to be successful for some women – though of course the side effects and as documented on this site – sometimes the permanent long-lasting side-effects.

The strongest pain medications like narcotics may take care of it for two to three hours, but the pain still comes back.

Now doctors have found a way to relieve the pain with a pill. They’re combining aromatase inhibitors with the endometriosis drug Lupron. 

“When you use the combination of these two drugs, you have a better chance,” Dr. Barrueto said.

Dr. Barrueto says aromatase inhibitors block the production of estrogen which suppresses the growth of endometriosis and reduces inflammation.

But the drugs are not without side effects.  Some of the most common ones are hot flashes, mood swings and reduced libido.

Dr. Barrueto says 60 percent of patients who use this combined therapy will experience a significant reduction in their pain.

Aromatase inhibitors have been well established in the treatment of breast cancer, a therapy discovered by a Baltimore scientist.

We hope this treatment does lead to increased pain relief, but also hope that doctors continue to do proper tests on items such as bone density tests and monitoring reactions to the drugs.

National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 8-14, 2008

Chronically Ill Enthusiastically Anticipate Virtual Internet Conference Sept 8-12

 

Press Release posted on http://www.sbwire.com/news/view/21215 – some excerpts are below for your reading pleasure as normal…

Traveling expenses, hard beds, peers wearing too much perfume, long treks to conference rooms, and exhausting days make up the typical conference–all which make it nearly impossible for the chronically ill to attend events where they can find encouragement and education. National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week’s “virtual” conference online is more than just practical. It’s necessary

 

One of the ways to meet the needs of the chronically ill is to provide the type of forum where they can learn, connect with others and interact with professionals. For the chronically ill, who typically have difficulty sleeping, extreme fatigue, trouble walking and sitting, and even chemical sensitivities, a virtual conference, where people can stay comfortable, attend free and avoid traveling is the perfect fit. 

Four seminars per day, Monday through Friday, September 8-12, are available at www.invisibleillness.com and all will be recorded and archived. 

Hundreds of people are also blogging for awareness about invisible illness issues on September 8, 2008. For more information see http://www.invisibleillnessblog.com 

 

Media Relations Contact

Lisa Copen Email Contact 
Director
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week
858-486-4685
http://www.invisibleillness.com

 

At last this seems to be a step in the right direction for people who suffer badly from diseases like Endometriosis, it will be intresting to see if any post awareness week articles and press releases give us some info on how successful it was.

Neurocrine reports positive results in latest Endometriosis Drug Trials

Neurocrine studied 252 patients, with a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis. The company split the group into 3 sets for treatment over 6 months.

  • elagolix 150mg once daily  (new drug)
  • elagolix 75mg twice daily  (new drug)
  • depo provera 104 (DMPA)  (common treatment)
Elagolix showed an improvement of endometriosis symptoms following treatment.
An Improvement in endometriosis symptoms was documented against different pain scales commonly used to rate symptons of sufferers.
In addition the impact on bone density loss was statistically less than on other treatments.
Also on the news the companies shares of course edged higher.

Some online resources about endometriosis.

I stumbled across the following page today:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/endometriosis/htm/index.htm

It’s quite intresting actually, the information is not all encompassing, but it is good and might be something for partners and family to look at – and even some GP’s and Family Doctors!

Basically there are several ways to view the information – the text view just gives a summary of facts and information on endo, and another view which goes through the tutorial without asking questions.

The best is the first one, which shows the tutorial, it then asks questions throughout just to make sure someone has been reading.  it’s worth a look, I don’t think it’s new – form the copyright around 2004.

But anything that helps people to

  • Understand Endometriosis
  • Learn how it affects women
  • Learn how it might be treated and that options are available.
  • Learn how they can support people with endometriosis.

Points That Should Be Known About Lupron (Prostap)

It has come to my attention that many people are being told that as long as they take HRT they can have Lupron as many times as they wish. This isn’t exactly true.

While it is not illegal for doctor’s to prescribe Lupron (Prostap), it is stated in the leaflet insert that is in the injection kit that: “The safety of
re-treatment as well as treatment beyond 6 months with Lupron has not been established.” This statement indicates that they have no idea how safe it is to have Lupron (Prostap) for more than 6 months at a time, or to even have it for more than one course.

People who have this medication should also have regular bone density scans to check whether or not this medication is affecting their bone density. Anyone who is going to have more than 1 6-month course should definitely make sure they receive one of these scans before beginning another course.

I would also recommend that before starting this treatment, you research the drug very carefully so that you fully understand the impact that it could have on your life.

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