Endometriosis linked with diseases, allergies By Emma Ross Associated Press Sept. 27, 2002 12:09 AM LONDON - Women with endometriosis, a leading cause of infertility in which tissue from the womb lining grows elsewhere in the body, are much more likely to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and allergies, new research has found. The study, published this week in the journal Human Reproduction, is the first to document something that has been noticed by many women with the painful disorder. The researchers urged doctors to look for the other diseases in women when diagnosing endometriosis, which afflicts 8 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age. The new research suggests an immune system abnormality may underlie all these conditions, said Warren Nothnick, a University of Kansas professor of obstetrics and gynecology who was not connected with the study. 'What is the underlying factor, the commonality, between all of these diseases? If we can find out what the one factor is, or group of factors, we can target that and hopefully come up with a way to treat not only the endometriosis, but also some of the other diseases,' Nothnick said. His own work, as well as that of other scientists, suggests that the malfunctioning of certain immune system chemicals called cytokines may be a common link. The study, conducted by scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, George Washington University and the Endometriosis Association, involved 3,680 women with endometriosis. The scientists found that 20 percent of the women had more than one other disease. A third of the women who had other diseases had fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, and some of those women also had other autoimmune or hormone diseases. The study also confirmed previous findings that there is typically a 10-year gap between the time women first get the pelvic pain and the diagnosis of endometriosis.