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Lena Dunham's multiple surgeries highlight difficulty in treating endometriosis

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 27, Oct 2018, 17:58 pm IST | UPDATED: 03, Nov 2018, 13:27 pm IST

Lena Dunham's multiple surgeries highlight difficulty in treating endometriosis

Delhi: Endometriosis can be so painful for many women that they undergo surgery, including hysterectomy (removal of uterus) or oophorectomy (removal of ovary) in search of relief.

The condition, where the lining of the uterus grows throughout other parts of the body, can strike many women. Even young women who appear healthy.

Last week, Lena Dunham, the actress and creator of the HBO series “Girls” and “Camping,” announced she had her left ovary removed in hopes of putting an end to the chronic pain she’s been experiencing from endometriosis.

Like many women living with endometriosis, Dunham has spent years looking for an effective treatment to manage her endometriosis-associated pain.

Earlier this year, the 32-year-old had a hysterectomy to help alleviate some of her endometrial symptoms. But the pain again worsened, which brought Dunham back to the operating room.

Dunham is hardly alone. About 6 to 10 percent of women have endometriosis. But many women struggle to find the right treatment, from anti-inflammatory medications to hormonal therapy and potentially even surgery.

It can take years or longer to find a treatment that brings relief.

But now, new research may change the way doctors treat endometriosis and allow for a more precise, targeted approach.

In the retrospective cohort study, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine studied 52 women who have endometriosis. The team analyzed lesion samples from them and performed immunohistochemistry — which involves staining for progesterone receptors — to measure whether their progesterone levels were low, medium, or high.

The researchers found that progesterone receptor levels are strongly connected to the body’s response to progestin-based therapy.

Knowing the receptor status could be used to tailor hormone-based regimens after surgery, the findings suggest.

Furthermore, understanding how a patient will respond to progestin-based therapies could significantly decrease the likelihood of the disease reoccurring, along with the need for multiple surgeries.

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