(RxWiki News) Endometriosis is a common reproductive disorder that affects women during their childbearing years. It is often connected with infertility, and now, it's also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease.
New research has found that women with endometriosis are at least twice as likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
A long-term study found that a woman diagnosed with the reproductive condition can find themselves with a diagnosis of IBD as long as 20 years later. The reasons for the connection are not yet known.
"If you've had endometriosis, ask your doctor about IBD."
The study was led by Dr. Tine Jess, an epidemiologist at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. The researchers enrolled over 37,000 Danish women, all of whom had been hospitalized for endometriosis between 1997 and 2007.
By monitoring their health over an average of 13 years, the researchers discovered that 320 of the women developed inflammatory bowel disease. That number breaks down into 228 women with ulcerative colitis and 92 with Crohn's disease.
These statistics translate to women with endometriosis having a 50 percent increased risk of developing IBD versus those without it. When the researchers looked at women who had surgery for endometriosis, their likelihood of developing IBD increased to 80 percent.
Women who were diagnosed with endometriosis had an average gap of 10 years before their development of IBD.
Endometriosis is a condition that's common among women in their childbearing years. It's a gynecological condition in which the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis is characterized by abdominal cramps, heavy menstrual periods, and infertility.
Endometriosis is also known as a chronic inflammatory disorder, a commonality with inflammatory bowel disease. The authors are not certain of the reasons for the connection, but they suggest that common causes or the effects of endometriosis treatment may be responsible.
The study was published in the journal Gut in December 2011.