Endometriosis has returned to the headlines in recent days for the account that Brazilian singer Anitta gave about her experience with the disease. According to the Brazilian Endometriosis Association, one in 10 women in Brazil suffers from the disorder. Symptoms range from strong colic pain to intense bleeding, which can lead to complications that are not yet so well known.
A new study by US researchers and published in the journal stroke this Thursday (21) can help to understand some of these diseases. The article points out that women who suffer from endometriosis, an abnormal growth of the endometrium outside the uterus, are more likely to have a stroke. The research’s conclusion aligns with others that have come before, that these women are also at greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The analysis spanned 28 years, starting in 1989, with 112,056 women who were nurses between the ages of 25 and 42 from 14 US states, and ending in 2017. Of the nearly 112,000, only 5,224 women were diagnosed, after a laparoscopy, with endometriosis.
The researchers analyzed every two years possible factors and habits that would increase the risk of developing a stroke in the 112,056 women. Among the factors were alcohol intake, being overweight, menstrual pattern in adolescence, use of contraceptives, smoking and others.
In one of the analyses, the relationship between endometriosis and the risk of stroke was investigated, and whether it could be a consequence of other factors that the disorder causes. In this case, high blood pressure and cholesterol, procedures to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) and post-menopausal hormone therapy were factors analyzed in the 5,000 women with the disorder.
During the 28 years of analysis, 893 strokes were catalogued. The results show that women with endometriosis had a 34% higher risk of stroke, compared with those without the disease (106,812). The researchers also reported that hysterectomy and oophorectomy procedures and postmenopausal hormone use increased the risk of stroke by 39% and 16%, respectively.
The discovery of the increased risk with reproductive organ removal procedures is important for medicine, as they are indicated in cases of endometriosis. In previous studies, hysterectomy has also been associated with an increased risk of stroke, even in women not affected by endometriosis.
“There are circumstances in which a hysterectomy and oophorectomy is the best choice for a woman, however, we also need to ensure that patients are aware of the potential health risks associated with these procedures,” says Stacey A. Missner, senior author of the study, in a note. study and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology at Michigan State University of Medicine.
It is important to emphasize that the study has some limitations, such as the fact that stroke subtypes are not available, and it cannot assess the relationship between them and endometriosis. Another inconsistency is that the timing of onset of endometriosis symptoms was not determined by the researchers. “These results do not indicate that women who have endometriosis will have a stroke. Rather, these findings only signify an association of moderate relative risk. The absolute risk of stroke in women is low.”