Prolonged exposure to pesticides may lead to endometriosis

A group of researchers from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA, have discovered two organochlorine pesticides used in the US to be the cause of endometriosis. This disorder is marked by abnormal growth of cells outside the uterus or womb in women who are in their reproductive years. Although the insecticide has been banned, it is found in traces in the environment.

The US Geological Survey has provided sufficient information about organochlorine pesticides, which are actually man-made insect-killing chemicals. In the past, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was extensively used in the agricultural areas in the US.

The medical investigators have published their findings in Environmental Health Perspectives, a journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Their study has proved an increased risk of the non-malignant disorder. The severity of the condition lies in the uncontrolled growth of the cells and their attachment to external organs such as ovaries, pelvic region or fallopian tubes. Sufferers usually experience menstrual cramps and pelvic pain. In fact, endometriosis is one of the prime causes of infertility in a number of adult females.

According to Kristen Upson, a study author and a postdoctoral fellow at the Epidemiology Branch of the NIEHS, the manifestations of endometriosis can affect the quality of life and disturb internal relationships as well as the professional life. Since estrogen boosts the growth of endometrial cells, the main aim of the study was to find out the influence of estrogen-containing pesticides on the health of women.

In this investigation, data was collected from the Women’s Risk of Endometriosis, a population-based case-control study of the disease in females between the ages of 18 and 50. Here, 248 women suffered from the non-cancerous disorder while 538 females were utilized as controls.

The findings of the research revealed a 30-70% increased risk of endometriosis in women who had prior exposure to the two organochlorine pesticides, mirex and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane. The presence of harmful chemicals in the blood samples of the affected participants has shocked several healthcare professionals due to the fact that these have been prohibited in the US.

The new study is imperative in the field of medical science since it signifies the impact of previously used insecticides on women. The organochlorine pesticides have estrogenic properties that can accelerate the growth of endometrial cells and impair the function of the reproductive system.

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