The relationship between heart disease and endometriosis is not a cause and effect but one in which both seem to have similar causes.
The images above are of the heart on the left and endometriosis on the right. The heart image is a photograph of a 3’x3′ stained-glass window created by Erica Rollins. A MRI of a human heart was used as the “subject” for the gorgeous art, and the piece is now found in Barts Heart Centre in London, England. The photograph of endometriosis was taken at the time of laparoscopy to treat pelvic pain.
Endometriosis is well-known to be associated with pelvic pain, infertility, and abnormal bleeding. Recent information has demonstrated an association with ovarian cancer (see my blog post at http://womensdoctor.com/endometriosis-ovarian-cancer/). The best way to treat endometriosis is to remove it, usually at the time of laparoscopy.
According to a recent study in the journal Circulation (http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/early/2016/03/29/CIRCOUTCOMES.115.002224.abstract), women with endometriosis of reproductive age are 200% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who do not have endometriosis. These women are 1.35 times more likely to need surgery including heart stents, 1.52 times more likely to have a heart attack, and 1.91 times more likely to develop heart-related chest pain. Cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death in both women and men in the U.S.
Women may or may not have symptoms associated with endometriosis, which means rather than the commonly quoted prevalence of 10% of women with endometriosis, the prevalence may be as high as 20%. The only way to accurately diagnosis the condition is at the time of surgery, most commonly at laparoscopy or so-called laser surgery.
Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease includes control of weight, cholesterol and lipids, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Healthy life-style includes not using tobacco products, getting at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, and healthy eating including fresh vegetables, lean meats, and less sodium. Additionally, medical studies suggest getting adequate sleep, socializing with other people, participating in religious activities, having fun, and doing whatever helps you reduce stress – some of these are over-lapping.
The association between endometriosis and cardiovascular disease may be explained by systemic chronic inflammation, heightened oxidative stress, and an atherogenic lipid profile (elevated cholesterol) that may increase women’s risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), according to authors of the study in Circulation. Please discuss this with your gynecologist if you need further information. You may call our office at 912-355-7717 for an appointment.