Stress Worsens Symptoms

The study was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of investigators with expertise in endometriosis, animal physiology and behavior. Seven female rats were induced with endometriosis. Of the total, half were subjected to stressful swim tests for ten consecutive days, a chronic and stressful situation the animals could not control. The “endo-stress” group (n=3) was subjected to the swim trials. The “endo-control” rats (n=4) had endometriosis but did not swim. The sham-stress group (n=3) did not have the disease nor did they swim.

Sixty days after the induction of the endometriosis the rats were sacrificed and examined for the presence of endometriotic vesicles and damage to the adjacent organs, including the colon and small intestine. The presence of the enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO), which is linked to inflammation, was also assayed.

The researchers found that none of the sham-stress animals developed vesicles; the endo-control group developed a total vesicle length that averaged 6.57±0.96mm per animal; the endo-stress group developed a total vesicle length that averaged 11.26±5.27mm per animal; the endo-control rats had higher colonic damage scores than sham-stressed animals, which was increased further by stress; the endo-stress rats had the shortest colon length, the highest levels of MPO, the greatest number of colonic mast cells, and an increase in peritoneal fluid immune cell infiltration, all indicative of activation of inflammatory mechanisms.

According to the senior researcher for the study, Dr. Appleyard, “The results offer a jumping off point to help identify stress-management interventions that will help those women who are affected by the disease.”

MEDICA.de; Source: American Physiological Society