Doctors do not consider endometriosis an autoimmune disease. However, it may have links to autoimmune conditions.

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Endometriosis is a chronic, progressive condition. It affects approximately 1 in 10 women living in the United States. It occurs when endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus in areas such as the ovaries, abdomen, and bowel.

These endometriosis lesions become inflamed and bleed, causing pain and other symptoms.

Symptoms of endometriosis include:

Researchers do not know why endometriosis affects some people and not others. Keep reading for more information on endometriosis and its relationship with autoimmune disorders.

Learn more about endometriosis.

An autoimmune disease is one in which the body mistakenly attacks its cells, tissues, or organs. The resulting damage can cause a wide variety of symptoms, depending on which part of the body it affects.

There is still no conclusive cause of endometriosis, and researchers do not yet know what triggers the condition. So far, experts do not classify endometriosis as an autoimmune disease.

However, research from 2019 does suggest there may be a link between the condition and problems with the immune system.

In addition, endometriosis may increase a person’s risk of developing an autoimmune disease as well as other chronic conditions. It is also possible that an existing autoimmune disease is behind endometriosis symptoms.

The reason for this link is unclear, but it might exist because endometriosis causes inflammation, which may contribute to an imbalanced immune response.

Treatment for an autoimmune disease typically focuses on suppressing the immune system so that it stops attacking healthy cells in the body.

Endometriosis does not appear to respond to any known treatments for autoimmune diseases, but research is underway to explore potential, new immunotherapy treatments for the condition.

The primary treatment methods for endometriosis involve managing the symptoms and preventing disease progression, as there is currently no cure. Most treatment plans include hormonal medications and pain relievers.

The most common treatments for endometriosis include:

  • surgery to remove lesions and unbind the organs that they have stuck together
  • surgical procedures to sever the nerves
  • hormonal drugs, such as birth control pills
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
  • surgery to remove lesions and scar tissue and to unbind the organs that may be scarred together

Endometriosis is not an autoimmune disease, but some evidence suggests that there is a link between endometriosis and several autoimmune conditions.

If a person with endometriosis is concerned about their risk of developing an autoimmune disease or thinks that an existing autoimmune disease may be affecting their endometriosis symptoms, they should speak with a doctor.

What kind of disease is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological disease that researchers now view as a systemic condition. This means it does not necessarily only affect the pelvic area, but it can also cause inflammation in different body systems.

Is endometriosis associated with cancer?

There is some evidence to suggest that endometriosis may have a connection with certain cancers, although cancer is not an autoimmune condition.

These may include ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Endometriosis may increase the risk of developing a particular type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-positive/progesterone receptor-negative (ER+/PR−) breast cancer.

Learn more about endometriosis and ovarian cancer.

Can endometriosis cause other health problems?

In addition to its association with certain autoimmune diseases and some cancers, endometriosis may also have an association with asthma and allergies, as well as some cardiovascular diseases.