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Endometriosis tied to high prevalence of asthma

Elaine Soliven
06 Jun 2018

Women with endometriosis may have a higher risk of asthma compared with women without endometriosis, according to a study presented at ATS 2018.

Using data from the US-based Explorys® clinical database, researchers identified women of reproductive age (aged 20–40 years) who had endometriosis (n=64,150) and asthma (n=437,470). [ATS 2018, abstract A4840]

After adjusting for age, race, and smoking status, women with endometriosis had a twofold risk of asthma compared with women without endometriosis (adjusted odds ratio [adjOR], 2.02, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.99–2.05; p<0.001).

The endometriosis-asthma link was evident regardless of weight, where compared with women without endometriosis, women aged 20–25 years with endometriosis had a higher asthma risk if they were obese (34 percent vs 19 percent), overweight (32 percent vs 17 percent), or of normal weight (28 percent vs 14 percent). This risk was also noted in women aged 35–40 years (27 percent vs 16 percent, 22 percent vs 13 percent, and 19 percent vs 11 percent in obese, overweight, and normal weight women, respectively).

“Endometriosis has been frequently linked to changes in immune function … Hormonal status and impairment of immune-tolerance were also causally related to the development [of] allergen-induced airway inflammation in asthma,” said lead author Dr Sura Alqaisi from the Respiratory Institute at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, US.

In addition, researchers found that the higher risk of asthma was independently associated with body mass index (obese vs normal weight, adjOR, 1.45, 95 percent CI, 1.44–1.46; p<0.001 and overweight vs normal weight, adjOR, 1.21, 95 percent CI, 1.21–1.22; p<0.001) and smoking status (smokers vs non-smokers, adjOR, 1.21, 95 percent CI, 1.20–1.21; p<0.001).

The researchers performed a replicative analysis using data from the NHANES* database involving 3,596 women of reproductive age also revealed an increased risk of asthma among women with endometriosis (adjOR, 2.03; p<0.001).

A previous study analysing the endometriosis-asthma link have produced contrasting findings, which showed no elevated asthma risk in women with endometriosis. [Hum Reprod 2005;20:3514-3517]

“Differences in sample size, and methodology may underlie the differences in our results as compared with previously published reports. Further studies are required to identify the potential mechanisms underlying this association,” said Alqaisi.

 

*NHANES: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
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