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A breakthrough in endometriosis treatment

Is bacteria the key to unlocking this treatment?

In a giant leap forward, scientists have linked a specific bacterial infection to endometriosis for the very first time.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium (lining of the uterus wall) grows outside of the uterus. For many women, the condition is characterised by debilitating pain, fatigue and infertility.


The average time span for an accurate diagnosis is 7.5 years, with some women opting for a complete hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) to curb the pain.


Unfortunately, the pathogenesis (the process by which a disease develops) of endometriosis is still relatively unknown. With previous scientific theories including retrograde menstruation, immune dysregulation, hormonal imbalance, stem cells and benign metastasis- this is the first time a bacterial theory has been forwarded. 

Dr Muraoka and his team theorised a link between bacterial localisation within the female reproductive tract and endometriosis- following promising research carried out on mice models. 


The Japanese study discovered a bacterium known as Fusobacterium to be present in the uteruses of 65% of women suffering from endometriosis, compared to less than 7% of women without the disease. 


Fusobacterium is a bacterium which is mostly found within the microbe of the mouth, gut and vagina. This bacterium has been linked to other inflammatory diseases such as gum disease.


Follow-up studies- undertaken on mice- discovered that those treated with antibiotics saw a significant reduction in both size and frequency of lesions associated with the disease. 


Clinical trials are now forging ahead to investigate the effects of antimicrobials as a viable treatment option for endometriosis patients. 


This revolutionary study is the first of its kind and could see patient disease management progress away from mediaeval invasive procedures and decades of pain.

For more information on Dr Muraoka and his team's work check out his study

By Kellie Leonard

Related articles: Underreporting of endometriosis / Are PCOS and endometriosis sisters?

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