Pesticides = Endometriosis?

By Riva Preil

Pesticides, plant protection products, have been linked with irritation of the skin and eyes, nervous and reproductive system problems, and possibly even cancer. Unfortunately, recent research has revealed that pesticides are associated with endometriosis. There is no clear cause of endometriosis, a condition characterized by an overgrowth of the uterine lining outside the uterus, painful periods, pain during intercourse, and infertility. However, Kristen Upson, lead author of the study (available online in Environmental Health Perspectives) identified pesticides as a possible contributing factor (see link here to article in The New York Times on November 5,2013, by Nicholas Bakalar). Upson’s research measured blood levels of two pesticides, mirex and beta HCH, in women with surgically confirmed endometriosis compared to healthy women. According to the study, women with the highest exposure to mirex had a 50 percent increased risk for endometriosis, and those exposed to high levels of beta HCH had a 30 to 70 percent increased risk. Upson proposes that the pesticides adversely affect estrogen levels and function thereby contributing to the development of endometriosis. Future research in this field is definitely warranted. Hopefully, by determining the direct causes of this painful and debilitating condition, women will no longer suffer from endometriosis. However, in the meanwhile, please allow us here at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy to help- we can help treat the pelvic floor muscle dysfunction often associated with endometriosis. Please feel free to call if you have any questions, we would love to assist with alleviating the pain!

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