Quick Survey: New Evidence On Endometriosis And The Environment
Endometriosis Under-Diagnosed And Difficult To Treat Audio Scroll Length - 04:24 Doctor DeMarco Recommended Products Dealing With Hot Flashes Naturally
New Evidence On Endometriosis And The Environment

Thanks to the untiring efforts of Mary Lou Ballweg , founder of the Endometriosis Association, evidence on the link between radiation exposure, and organochlorine exposure, and the development of endometriosis has been brought to light.

The Endometriosis Association is renowned as a model of the successful self help group. Its mission is to provide support and information to women with endometriosis, to conduct research, and to educate doctors and the public.

Ballweg's quest led her to research published by NASA. In the mid 1960's, NASA had begun a long-term study to find out the effects of ionizing radiation on monkeys. Endometriosis developed in 53 percent of the monkeys after radiation exposure; and in only 26 percent of the monkeys not exposed to radiation.

Meanwhile, years ago, the Canadian government studied the effects of adding PCBs to monkey food. Researchers were surprised to find that the monkeys developed endometriosis. Dr. James Campbell told Ballweg that the addition of PCB to food seemed to increase the severity of the endometriosis rather than the numbers who got it.

Through Dr. Campbell, Ballweg tracked down another study. Since 1977, the Environmental Protection Agency had funded a long-term study on the effects of adding dioxin to the food of a monkey colony. Researchers noted immune dysfunction in exposed animals as well as difficulty in reproduction. In 1992, the funding for the project had become exhausted, and the animals were to be sold.

Under Mary-Lou Ballweg's leadership, the Endometriosis Association stepped in and bought the remaining animals. The Association then asked renowned endometriosis experts, Dr. Dan Martin and Dr. Paul Dmowski, to carry out laparoscopic and immunological studies on the animals. The results were published in the Journal of Fundamental and Applied Toxicology in Nov/93.

Seventy-nine percent of the animals exposed to dioxin in the study developed endometriosis compared to 33 percent in the control group. Most importantly the disease was dose dependant, that is, it increased in severity in direct proportion to the amount of dioxin exposure.

Currently, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is carrying out a study to determine the blood levels of dioxin, furan and PCB's in women with endometriosis. PCB's have been linked to endometriosis and thyroiditis in a German study published in 1992. The Environmental Protection Agency is also carrying on a study to determine the effects of dioxin in rats who have had endometriosis surgically implanted in their bodies.

Definitive studies will take many years to complete. And as Ballweg says, with so many chemicals involved, and complex mechanisms of interaction within the human body, there will be no simple answer.

Meanwhile, it makes sense for women with endometriosis and their families to avoid exposure to all unnecessary radiation as well as exposure to dioxins and other industrial chemicals.

The main source of exposure to dioxin and other industrial chemicals is in the fat of meat and dairy products. Thus it is best to emphasize whole grains, and organic fresh vegetables and fruits and to cut down on fats from milk and meat products.

It also makes sense for women to stop buying bleached paper products (with possible dioxin residues) including toilet paper, diapers, sanitary napkins, tampons; and chlorine bleaches and cleaning agents. Ballweg suggests that before you throw out that last box of napkins or tampons, you call the toll free number of the company and tell them why you're switching. Alternatives include cloth pads, a rubber cup known as the keeper and unbleached tampons/napkins available at health food stores.

Ballweg speculates that, "The disease of endometriosis might have been a mild, mostly tolerable disease in the past (except presumably for a few unlucky souls) that has become severe and distinctly intolerable with the additional effects of modern pollutants in our bodies. These studies may help explain why there seems to be an epidemic of endometriosis world wide in this century."

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