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Endometriosis linked to fatigue

Wednesday June 27th, 2018

Fatigue is a common symptom of endometriosis, according to a Swiss study, published today.

The rate was twice as high as that in unaffected women, even taking into account pain, insomnia, occupational stress, depression, body mass index and motherhood, researchers found.

Lead researcher, Professor Brigitte Leeners, of University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland, said: "These findings suggest that endometriosis has an effect on fatigue that is independent of other factors and that cannot be attributed to symptoms of the disease.

"Although chronic fatigue is known to be one of the most debilitating symptoms of endometriosis, it is not widely discussed and few large studies have investigated it.

"We believe that in order to improve the quality of life for women with this condition, investigating and addressing fatigue should become a routine part of medical care, and doctors should investigate and address this problem when they are discussing with their patients the best ways to manage and treat the disease."

She added that it would also help patients if they were given support with insomnia, pain, depression and occupational stress.

The study is published today (27 June) in Human Reproduction. It included 1,120 women, half of whom had endometriosis. Questionnaire answers revealed that 50.7% of endometriosis sufferers had frequent fatigue, versus 22.4% of women without endometriosis.

One possible reason for this high rate of fatigue, the authors suggest, is that inflammation caused by the endometrial lesions could be activating cytokines by triggering the immune system. Cytokines have been shown to play a role in fatigue.

Ramin-Wright, A. et al. Human Reproduction 27 June 2018; doi: 10.1093/humrep/dey115

https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/dey115

Tags: Europe | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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