Antibiotics widely used to treat skin and eye infections could relieve the pain of endometriosis.
Researchers in Japan have discovered that a type of bacteria called fusobacterium may be involved in triggering the symptoms of endometriosis. Treating mice carrying fusobacteria with antibiotics reduced inflammation and scarring caused by the condition.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to that which normally develops in the lining of the uterus (and breaks down and bleeds in the same way) develops in other parts of the body, causing inflammation, pain and scarring.
Mild to moderate endometriosis can be treated with anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, as well as birth control to suppress the release of estrogen, which can promote tissue growth.
In more severe cases, women may be offered surgery to remove the tissue, but in 50 percent of those cases the symptoms return within five years.
Antibiotics widely used to treat skin and eye infections could ease the pain of endometriosis (file image)
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to that which normally develops in the lining of the uterus (and breaks down and bleeds in the same way) develops in other parts of the body, causing inflammation, pain and scarring (file image)
Researchers discovered the link between fusobacteria and endometriosis when they analyzed tissue samples from 79 women with endometriosis and 76 without, all of whom had undergone surgery at Nagoya University Hospital and Toyota Kosei Hospital in Japan.
DID YOU KNOW?
Cold weather can cause an increase in blood pressure.
Researchers in the US analyzed the medical records of 60,676 adults with hypertension and found that systolic blood pressure (the highest number in the readings) increased to 1.7 and blood pressure was less controlled during the winter.
Among people with endometriosis, 64.3 percent had significantly higher levels of fusobacterium. And 52.4 percent of those who had the bacteria had higher levels in endometrial tissue that had formed outside the uterus.
By contrast, higher levels of the bacteria were found in the uterus of only 7.1 percent of people without the condition.
The researchers found similar results in mice with endometriosis. Those with fusobacteria in the affected tissue developed more inflammation and scarring.
Fusobacterium is part of the normal community of microbes found in the mouth and throat, digestive system, and female genital tract. But if it passes through the mucosal lining of the digestive and genital tracts, it can cause infections and inflammation.
The researchers treated mice with endometriosis with two common antibiotics: metronidazole, a broad-spectrum antibiotic prescribed for skin and dental infections; and chloramphenicol, used to cure superficial eye infections.
The results, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, showed that five days of treatment eradicated fusobacteria and reduced inflammation and scarring caused by endometriosis.
Clinical trials of these antibiotic treatments in human patients with endometriosis are currently underway at Nagoya University Hospital.
Dr Lucy Whitaker, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This is a really interesting study and the results are plausible. However, I think there is a lot more work to be done to determine whether this type of bacteria really contributes to the development of endometriosis and what could be the role of antibiotics as a treatment in the future.’
Secrets of an A-list
This week: Holly Willoughby’s butt
At this month’s National Television Awards, presenter Holly Willoughby wore a dress that showed off her slim arms and toned bum.
The 42-year-old mother of three began practicing Pilates after the birth of her second child and is said to also enjoy yoga, kickboxing and swimming. She has said: ‘As long as she is healthy, it is enough. I’m quite active.’
At this month’s NTAs, presenter Holly Willoughby wore a dress that showed off her slim arms and toned bum.
What to try: A glute bridge with additional “march” reps will define your butt.
Lie down with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Press into your heels and squeeze your buttocks as you lift your hips, so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Engage your core as you lift one knee toward your chest. Hover, then lower down and repeat with the other leg. Repeat ten times, rest for one minute, then do two more sets.