New information on Endometriosis

My friend sent this to me last night but I just now have time to share it:

Breakthrough for endometriosis sufferers as discovery offers hope for treatment and cure
By Jenny Hope
Last updated at 2:54 AM on 06th August 2008

A painful womb condition that affects around two million British women may be triggered by an out-of-control enzyme, scientists claim.

They say the information could be used to diagnose and treat endometriosis, which causes infertility and pain and currently has no cure.

The problem arises when cells normally found in the womb lining attach themselves to other parts of the pelvic area, causing scar tissue, pain and inflammation.

Researchers at Liverpool University have now identified that the enzyme – or biological catalyst – telomerase could be responsible.

Telomerase is normally released by cells in the inner lining of the womb during the early stages of the menstrual cycle.

But in those affected by endometriosis, the enzyme is also released during the later stages when it can wreck a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant.

The enzyme helps the replication of DNA sequences and is found in cells that divide frequently, including cancer cells.

It also maintains the length of the telomeres, which are tiny ‘caps’ on the ends of chromosomes that help protect DNA strands from inflammation and other ageing processes.

The research shows women with endometriosis had abnormally long telomeres.

The telomerase-generating cells lining their womb behaved like cancer cells, dividing uncontrollably and acquiring the ability to spread and survive in other parts of the body.

Dr Dharani Hapangama, who led the research, said: ‘Women who have endometriosis express this enzyme in both the early and late stages of the menstrual cycle which means that the cells will continue to divide and lose their “focus” in supporting the establishment of a pregnancy.

‘As a result, the lining of the womb may be more hostile to an early pregnancy, and the cells that are shed at this late stage in the menstrual cycle may be more ‘aggressive’ and more able to survive and implant outside the uterus, causing pain in the pelvic or abdomen area.’

The research, which was published in the journal Human Reproduction, is now expected to help scientists develop new techniques for diagnosing and treating the condition.

In most cases, endometriosis is diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40.

The disorder can occur in several places in the body, most commonly the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, the bowel, the intestines, the vagina and the rectum.

Estimates range from 1 million to 5 million women in the United States as having Endometriosis. Doctors use the same staging system to diagnose the disease as they do for cancer, because the illness behaves similar to a cancer. I have Stage III Endometriosis – diagnosed in February, 2007. With this illness, I’ve had monthly pain severe enough to make me vomit and/or fall down since I was in high school.