My first publication was honestly a jam-packed and super dense detailed explanation of causes of pain in endometriosis (endo) patients, and what can counter this. It was, as many of these research papers are, written with clinical jargon in a way that only other researchers or medical experts would follow. Not helpful to the millions of women with endometriosis looking for relief. So I want to summarize what we found — in other words.
Coming into this research, we already knew a few key facts:
- Women with endometriosis tend to have more free fluid in the abdomen than women without endo. It’s called peritoneal fluid.
- The fluid contains high levels of molecules that are known to cause inflammation and pain.
- Antioxidants and painkillers have been effective in treating pain caused by endo in some women.
So what’s new?
Well, we uncovered a unique way that pain is triggered in endo patients. Lipoproteins — proteins that carry fats through liquid — are affected by the makeup of this fluid in women with endometriosis. This creates additional oxidative stress in the body and triggers pain & inflammation by a mechanism that is actually well known and studied. It is actually the pathway that is targeted by common over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen.
With this new knowledge and proof of these concepts, the next step was to test possible treatments for this type of pain. What’s the point of understanding the mechanism if we can’t apply it to help people? The common solution to oxidative stress is antioxidants. In this case we studied used certain antioxidants (think vitamin E) and NSAIDs (think Advil) to block this specific source of inflammation and pain. Results were very encouraging, especially with antioxidants vitamin-E and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and the NSAID indomethacin.
What does this mean for the endo community? We’ve established one source of pain in women with endometriosis. And confirmed that treating that source can be beneficial. There are still a ton of questions and not enough answers, but it’s something.
Check out the published article HERE. And please reach out with any comments or questions.