Co-occurrence of immune-mediated conditions and endometriosis among adolescents and adult women

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2021 Jul;86(1):e13404. doi: 10.1111/aji.13404. Epub 2021 Feb 25.


Problem: Associations between immune dysfunction conditions (eg, systemic lupus erythematous, rheumatoid arthritis) and endometriosis have been observed in adult women, but not assessed among a younger population. We investigated the association between immune-mediated conditions and endometriosis among young women.

Method of study: This cross-sectional analysis in the Women's Health Study: From Adolescence to Adulthood included 551 participants with surgically diagnosed endometriosis (median age=19) and 652 controls without endometriosis (median age=24). Participants completed an expanded Endometriosis Phenome and Biobanking Harmonization Project questionnaire. We used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to investigate the associations between autoimmune/inflammatory, atopic, chronic pain/fatigue, and endocrine disorders with endometriosis, adjusting for confounders.

Results: Participants with any autoimmune and/or inflammatory condition had an increased odds of co-occurring endometriosis (OR: 1.87; CI: 0.92-3.80), as did participants with allergies (OR: 1.76; CI: 1.32-2.36), asthma (OR: 1.35; CI: 0.97-1.88), chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia (OR: 5.81; CI: 1.89-17.9), or previous mononucleosis (OR: 1.75; CI: 1.14-2.68). Odds of endometriosis were lower among participants with eczema (OR: 0.68; CI: 0.44-1.04). We observed a positive trend between the number of immune-mediated conditions and the odds of endometriosis (p-trend=0.0002). Endocrine disorders were not associated with endometriosis.

Conclusions: Among this population of adolescents and adult women, endometriosis was more likely among participants with autoimmune and/or inflammatory diseases, allergies, asthma, previous mononucleosis infection, and chronic fatigue and/or fibromyalgia. We observed that an increasing number of immune-mediated conditions were positively associated with endometriosis risk. It is important for clinicians who care for adolescents and women with these conditions to consider endometriosis as a comorbidity.

Keywords: allergies; asthma; autoimmune Diseases; endometriosis; epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Endometriosis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mastocytosis, Systemic / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult