Heart disease alert for women with endometriosis
The study found women under 40 with endometriosis are around three times as likely to suffer a heart attack, develop chest pain or need treatment for blocked arteries.
The common gynecological condition, which affects one in 10 women of reproductive age in Britain, can cause fertility problems, painful and heavy periods and pain during sex.
Women often mistake the symptoms for nothing more than bad period pains.
The study, published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, involved reviewing the records of 116,430 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II.
By the end of the study, 11,903 of these women had been diagnosed with endometriosis.
At the end of the 20 year study, they found that women under 40 who had endometriosis were three times as likely to develop heart attack, chest pain or need treatment for blocked arteries, compared to other women their age.
Around 73,000 people die from heart disease each year in the UK which is the most common cause of death for people under 65.
Researchers believe one surgical treatment of endometriosis, which involves removing the uterus or ovaries, could account for the increased risk of heart disease.
Surgically-induced menopause could increase the risk of heart disease and this elevated risk may be more pronounced in younger women.
Study author Dr Fan Mu, of Harvard Medical School in the United States, said: “Women with endometriosis should be aware they may be at higher risk for heart disease compared to women without endometriosis, and this increased risk may be highest when they are young.
“It is important for women with endometriosis, even young women, to adopt heart-healthy lifestyle habits, be screened by their doctors for heart disease, and be familiar with symptoms because heart disease remains the primary cause of death in women.”