1 in 10 Women: Silent Suffering from Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a cripplingly disease that causes cells from the womb lining to grow outside the womb, which can lead to internal organs fusing together. The impact is devastating. It can affect girls’ education and women’s careers and fertility. Endometriosis is not a rare disease. It is the second most common gynaecology condition in the UK with over 1.5 million sufferers. Yet, currently there is no cure and on average women have to wait 7.5 years for a diagnosis.
Women as young as 21 choose to have a hysterectomy because of the endless agonising pain, only for their endometriosis to return. Many women are forced to drop out of work because of the disease and suffer from economic and social disadvantage as a result. This affects their mental health and wellbeing and 25% of women with endometriosis have felt suicidal at some point.
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First new treatment for endometriosis in 40 years
Professor Andrew Horne is heading an exciting research project which could bring about the first effective new treatment for women with endometriosis. In research previously funded by Wellbeing of Women, he made the discovery that endometriosis cells behave and spread in a similar way to cancer cells. As a result of this breakthrough, he and his research team are investigating anticancer in treating endometriosis.
Investigating the link between endometriosis and auto-immune disease
Professor Krina Zondervan at the University of Oxford is investigating the link between endometriosis and auto-immune diseases, with the aim of identifying women at risk of endometriosis and speeding up diagnoses. They will test for shared genetics between conditions and use the results to identify urgently needed treatments with fewer side effects. There is potential to re-purpose treatments used in auto-immune diseases.