An Update: Endometriosis in Cynomolgus Monkeys

macaca_fascicularis - monkey

Last year I wrote about a study involving Endometriosis being found in Cynomolgus monkeys.  Recently, a new study was published in Human Reproduction about those monkeys and Endometriosis, and here I am to regurgitate it to you in my layman understanding.

At the Tsukuba Primate Research Center in Japan, 614 female cynomolgus monkeys were evaluated between 2008 and 2012.  Of those, 29 were chosen to be screened on a routine basis, including monitoring menstrual cycles, fertility, bloodwork (including CA-125 levels), and physical examinations.  Surgeries were performed and 15 of the 29 monkeys had surgically confirmed cases of Endometriosis.

Let me repeat that:  fifteen of the 29 monkeys had surgically confirmed cases of Endometriosis.  These monkeys were not implanted with Endometriosis as lab rats often are.  It grew on its own.

These 15 monkeys ranged in age from 8 years old to 20 years old.  They discovered that CA-125 levels tended to be elevated in the monkeys that had chocolate cysts present and lower in those who did not have endometriomas.  They also discovered that painful palpation examinations and abnormal feces were both commonalities with these monkeys.  Also of note, the monkeys ate less food during their menstrual cycles, which may be attributed to increased pain and a decreased quality of life.

During the time of the study, the remaining monkeys who did not have Endometriosis were monitored to make sure they did not develop the illness.  Four of them DID develop Endometriosis!

Even though the monkeys were small in comparison to humans, the surgeons were able to easily identify Endometriosis lesions (and their various colors: red, pink, brown,  blue, black or white), endometriomas (chocolate cysts), and adhesions while performing the laparoscopies.

Based on these findings, the authors suggest that screening, diagnosing, and monitoring Endometriosis in monkeys should include palpations, fecal monitoring, and CA-125 testing.

The findings of the study were that cynomolgus monkeys with spontaneous endometriosis may prove to be a good model to evaluate the disease, as well as drug efficacy.  I would hate to think that that means they may one day end up as lab rats for drug companies.  My animal-lovin’ brain takes me down that dark path, though.

I am constantly amazed by the presence of Endometriosis in non-humans.  And saddened at the thought that these animals cannot vocalize the pain I know they feel.  But knowing that the illness affects other species makes me hope that it may one day get the attention of the scientific and medical communities that it deserves.

RESOURCES:

Human Reproduction –  (April 2018) – Spontaneous Endometriosis in Cynomolgus Monkeys as a Clinically Relevant Experiment Model (entire article)

~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research ūüėČ Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa

Endometriosis & Wine

A spilling glass of red wine

So, we’ve all heard that a glass of wine can be good for you. ¬†Healthy, actually. ¬†Then we’ve all heard that it can be harmful. ¬†Throw in the mix that some of us suffer from Endometriosis…and that many people try to cut alcohol out of their lifestyle to¬†prevent flare-ups and symptoms. ¬†Alcohol is not only harmful to our bodies and livers, but contains a lot of sugar, as well as wreaks havoc on our system. ¬†But I like me some vino!

Cutting out alcohol all together is likely your safest bet if you’re wanting to live cleaner and healthier. ¬†The liver filters out toxins, as well as estrogen, from the body. ¬†As you may have read elsewhere, Endometriosis¬†is an estrogen-fed and reliant disease. ¬†If our livers cannot properly filter out estrogen, we are simply empowering our illness. ¬†Alcohol is also high in sugar…and we’ve previously discussed how sugar may increase your Endometriosis pain and flare-ups. ¬†Studies have shown that alcohol may also increase estrogen levels due to phytoestrogens in alcohol…plant estrogens that¬†¬†mimic human estrogen (…wait…I didn’t know that. Crap.)

Continue reading

Iceland : Endometriosis Care & Support

Embed from Getty Images

It’s that time, again!  Time to pick a random country and analyze how they deal with Endometriosis.  Today we’ve chosen Iceland (as of today, we’ve had 13 views from Iceland).

Iceland is a little bit smaller than Cuba (40,000 sq. miles) and sports roughly 329,000 people and has a 5% unemployment rate. ¬†I also learned that Iceland doesn’t charge for upper secondary education (think of this as a junior college with most attendees¬†between 16-20 years old), nor does it charge tuition for university attendance! ¬†That’s just so awesome!

Continue reading

Chronic pain affects your brain

drawing of a human brain in a jar

So a lot of people with Endometriosis suffer from chronic pain…hell, a lot of people without Endometriosis suffer from chronic pain. ¬†There are theories and studies out there that suggest chronic pain affects memory, cognitive function, and mental health. ¬†Not only does Endometriosis present painful symptoms, but it’s also incurable. ¬†And¬†there are many people who do not get any symptom-relief from any of the treatments available. ¬†You can see where this may cause some “mental health” issues. ¬†Here’s some interesting tidbits on how pain affects brain activity and function.

What is gray¬†matter all about? ¬†It maintains memory, sight, hearing, emotions, speech, impulse control, and executive functions (reasoning, problem solving, cognitive functions, etc.). ¬†Gray matter volume naturally decreases with age. ¬†So…it happens naturally. ¬†Chronic pain may just spur it along a bit more. ¬†Studies have indicated that children who suffer from chronic pain have a greater loss of gray matter volume when they are adults.

Continue reading

Endometriosis & Iron Levels

two iron dumbbells
(…no, not that kind of iron)

So, if you’re reading this you probably already know a little bit about Endometriosis. ¬†Recently at our support group meeting, the question of iron levels and anemia came up. ¬† With all that bleeding, can we suffer from anemia or an iron deficiency?

And, again,¬†the topic of iron levels and Endo came up at our Endometriosis Awareness & Support Walk: could the¬†blood left in my pelvic region from shedding Endo have caused the “abnormally high” iron levels during a blood test?

Continue reading

Endometriosis & The Bowel

Diagram of human bowels

As you may know, Endometriosis is not limited to just your reproductive bits & pieces.  It can implant, grow, and fester in many places; the bowel included.  But what does that mean? How do you know if it’s on your bowel?  Today’s blog will go into that…Read on, dear Reader…read on.  Word of warning : I will be using words like fart and poop! Why dance around the subject with flowery words when I feel like I’m a giggly 12-year-old girl?

It is estimated that between 5-15% (and some even doctors guess it’s actually between 3-34%) of women with Endometriosis suffer from Endo on their bowels.  Bowel Endometriosis may affect the colon, the rectum, the large intestine, the small intestine, the colon, or the sigmoid colon.  The implants may be physically located on the bowels, or even just located adjacent to them in areas like the Pouch of Douglas, uterosacral ligaments, or rectovaginal septum. The close proximity of the inflamed and irritated lesions may be enough to induce bowel Endometriosis symptoms.  And these symptoms may also be caused by adhesions pulling or twisting the bowels.

Continue reading

My two cents : sexual abuse and Endometriosis

A group of women standing next to each other
1 in 5 people born with a uterus were sexually abused as children; 1 in 10 have Endometriosis

As you may recall, last week I shared how I have heard a lot of recent buzz about sexual abuse and¬†Endometriosis sharing a causal link. ¬†As promised, I did some digging to figure this out for myself. ¬†Curious on my opinion? ¬†Read on! ¬†But, please remember : it’s only my opinion.

According to The National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse.  In 2012 in the United States alone there were 62,939 reported cases of child sexual abuse.  That same year, there were 346,830 reported rapes or sexual assaults of persons who were 12 or older.

Continue reading

Frozen Embryo Transfers & Endometriosis

Frozen embryo transfer medical tubes

A lot of people have trouble becoming pregnant, whether or not they have Endometriosis.  The question has been raised : if you have Endometriosis and are undergoing frozen embryo transfer (FET), which treatment regimens and protocols have the highest successful pregnancy rate?

I myself have never considered IVF and had to do a bit of initial research on the differences between fresh and frozen embryos, IVF, etc. ¬†I am so grateful an EndoWarrior asked this question; brought this struggle to my attention. ¬†So if you already know about these, please bear with me as I¬†learn. ¬†Otherwise, skip passed these first few categories to the knitty gritty below ūüôā

Continue reading