When a person has an autoimmune disorder their body cannot distinguish between healthy tissues and harmful tissues. White blood cells, which seek out and destroy bacteria, viruses, toxins, cancerous cells, and foreign contaminants, become confused and begin to attack healthy tissue. As a result, the body begins to function incorrectly; organs begin to function improperly and body tissue becomes destroyed. Autoimmune disorders can range from gluten intolerances and Diabetes to Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. There are over 80 known autoimmune disorders that affect the digestive track, the endocrine system, and nervous system.
Endometriosis is not thought to be an autoimmune disorder. During endometriosis, tissue that normally is found in the endometrium layer of the uterus finds its way outside the uterus and implants itself onto the fallopian tubes, ovaries, appendix, or other nearby organs. These implants are made up of normal tissue that’s not in the right spot. In a way, Endometriosis resembles an autoimmune disorder; it certainly makes you wonder if the white blood cells are confused by these endometrial implants, passing them by instead of destroying them. But still, Endometriosis is not considered to be an auto-immune disorder; instead it’s thought to be the result of genetics and hormonal imbalances.
Scientists, however, have found that women who suffer from Endometriosis seem to have a higher chance of having allergies, eczema, or asthma. Additionally, the NIH has said that women who suffer from Endometriosis are at an increased risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, two common auto-immune disorders.
There is still a lot we don’t know about autoimmune disorders. More research is needed so we can find an official cause and work on helping those who are suffering.