Is endometriosis an autoimmune disease?

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Experts do not classify endometriosis as an autoimmune disease. However, endometriosis may increase a person’s risk of developing an autoimmune disease, as well as other chronic conditions. The reason for the link is unclear, but it might exist because endometriosis causes inflammation, which may contribute to an imbalanced immune response. An autoimmune disease is one in which the body mistakenly attacks its cells, tissues, or organs. The resulting damage can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on which part of the body it affects. The abnormal immune response that occurs in endometriosis may be due to an existing autoimmune disorder…. Endometriosis is not an autoimmune disease, but some evidence suggests that there is a link between endometriosis and several autoimmune conditions….If a person with endometriosis is concerned about their risk of developing an autoimmune disease or thinks that an existing autoimmune disease may be affecting their endometriosis symptoms, they should speak to a doctor.”

  • Shigesi, N., Kvaskoff, M., Kirtley, S., Feng, Q., Fang, H., Knight, J. C., … & Becker, C. M. (2019). The association between endometriosis and autoimmune diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Human reproduction update25(4), 486-503. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/25/4/486/5518352  

“The observed associations between endometriosis and autoimmune diseases suggest that clinicians need to be aware of the potential coexistence of endometriosis and autoimmune diseases when either is diagnosed. Scientists interested in research studies on endometriosis or autoimmune diseases should consider the likelihood of comorbidity when studying these two types of health conditions.”

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