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BCL6 Endometriosis

Is BCL6 Endometriosis Genetic?

by Hassan Ali

BCL6 Endometriosis is a complex disease – one with no single responsible gene. However, genetics appears to be part of the equation, paired with environmental factors.

Usually, BCL6 endometriosis affects members of the same nuclear family, although having cousins with the condition might also suggest increased odds of an individual having endometriosis. One can inherit endometriosis predisposition from either the maternal or paternal family line.

Other Possible Causes of Endometriosis

As we’ve mentioned, genetics is only a piece of the puzzle. Researchers continue to explore the possible root causes. Some of the existing theories include:

Retrograde Menstruation

In normal processes, menstrual blood flows out of the body. In retrograde menstruation, the blood with endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. The endometrial cells present in the menstrual blood attach to the pelvic walls and adjacent surfaces, from which they grow and thicken. Therefore, these cells also bleed over every time the woman is on her period.

Immune System Disorder

When the body has a problem with the immune system, it might not recognize endometrial-like tissue that grows outside the uterus. Therefore, the body is not in a position to destroy the endometrial tissue.

Surgical Scar Implantation

Following an invasive surgery on the abdomen or female reproductive system, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, the organs and skin are stitched carefully. Still, endometrial cells might attach to a surgical incision following surgery, and thereby develop into endometriosis. 

Cell Transformation

Endometrial cells can be found anywhere in the body, resulting from internal changes in the cells outside the uterus. During the transformation, these cells might turn into endometrial-like cells.

Endometrial Cell Transport

The blood system or the lymphatic system might transport endometrial-like cells to other parts of the body. Once these cells attach to other organs, they lead to the growth of similar cells. Other risk factors include:

  • Low body mass index
  • Menstrual cycles shorter than 27 days
  • Never giving birth
  • Starting your period at an early age
  • Menstrual periods that last over seven days
  • Delayed menopause
  • Early-onset of periods

Signs and Symptoms of BCL6 Endometriosis

As we’ve discussed, endometriosis is characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The tissue responds to the hormonal changes throughout the woman’s menstrual cycle.

But the main problem arises when the hormones trigger the endometrial lining to shed (during menstruation). Unfortunately, the endometrial tissue outside the uterus has nowhere to be shed. As a result, the woman experiences pain and discomfort.

The woman might also experience symptoms like:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Severe menstrual cramping
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination

Complications Associated with Endometriosis

BCL6 endometriosis puts a woman at greater risk of certain complications such as:

Infertility

Infertility is the leading complication of endometriosis—approximately one in three women with endometriosis struggle with getting pregnant. For pregnancy to occur, the egg needs an unobstructed travel path from the ovary to the fallopian tube for fertilization, then to the uterus for implantation. But with endometriosis, the fallopian tube might be blocked, preventing fertilization.

Cancer

Studies show that those with endometriosis are at a higher risk of ovarian cancer than those without. Another type of cancer, known as endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma, can develop later in life among endometriosis patients. However, it is still pretty rare.

Treatments Used for Endometriosis

Treatment for endometriosis depends on the patient. Usually, the doctor starts by recommending conservative treatment options; surgery is considered a last resort. The doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain killers to relieve the painful menstrual cramps.

If the patient is not trying to get pregnant, the doctor might suggest a combination of pain relievers and hormone therapy. This includes hormonal therapy, progestin therapy, aromatase therapy, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and antagonists. If the patient is trying to conceive, the doctor may resort to conservative surgery to remove the endometriosis implants while conserving the uterus and the ovaries.

Supervised fertility treatment might also be part of the treatment plan for endometriosis patients having fertility challenges. Although removing the uterus and the ovaries was once a popular BCL6 Endometriosis treatment, experts are moving away from this technique.

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