15:54 PM

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Endometriosis: Why You’re at Increased Risk

CreakyJoints discusses the link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and an increased risk for endometriosis and includes guidance from experts including Lisa R. Sammaritano, MD, rheumatologist at HSS.

A 2021 study in the journal Rheumatology revealed people with endometriosis have a higher risk for RA.

Dr. Sammaritano explained, “This study — performed using data derived from a national health care database in Taiwan — confirms previous publications that have suggested a relationship between endometriosis and a number of autoimmune diseases, in this case, rheumatoid arthritis.”

She continued, “While provocative and interesting, the available published data are limited in quality (and quantity) and do not yet provide a clear mechanism or explanation for this association.”

According to Dr. Sammaritano, “Endometriosis is best described as an estrogen-dependent, chronic inflammatory condition characterized by the proliferation of endometrial glands and stromal tissue outside the uterine cavity. Ongoing inflammation and scarring lead to the typical complications of pain and infertility. It is known to be driven by both hormonal and immunologic factors.”

“Immune system abnormalities have been documented in multiple types of immune cells and inflammatory pathways in patients with endometriosis,” said Dr. Sammaritano. “Not surprisingly, some of these changes are similar to various immune system abnormalities found in autoimmune disorders, with persistent chronic inflammation.” 

“Changes or defects in the immune system appear to allow each of these disorders to develop and persist, likely in conjunction with other anatomic and environmental factors,” she added.

Read the full article at Creakyjoints.org.