Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue that normally lines the uterus is found in other areas of the body. Endometrial implants may appear on or near the uterus and other reproductive organs; they can also occur on or around the abdominal organs. Endometriosis often causes women to experience debilitating pain and infertility. Recent research suggests a link between pesticides and endometriosis.
A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood have an increased risk of developing endometriosis. Measurable levels of mirex and beta HCH–two pesticides that have been banned in the U.S. for several decades–can still be found in certain dairy products and fish. The study showed that “…women with the highest exposure to mirex had a 50 percent increased risk for endometriosis, and those exposed to high levels of beta HCH a 30 to 70 percent increased risk.”
Researchers believe that the women in the study were exposed to the chemicals through contaminated food products. While a definitive link has yet to be established between the chemicals and endometriosis, some experts believe that organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) interfere with normal estrogen activity. “What we know about endometriosis is that it’s an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Kristen Upson, a postdoctoral fellow at the Epidemiology Branch of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and lead author of this study, said, “the take-home message from our study is that persistent environmental chemicals, even those used in the past, may affect the health of the current generation of reproductive-age women with regard to a hormonally driven disease.”
Clear Passage Physical Therapy has over 20 years experience treating endometriosis-related pain and infertility, without surgery or drugs. Schedule a free phone consultation with an expert therapist to learn more.