Sexual pain in endometriosis: Role of somatic mutations
Endometriosis is a common condition, affecting 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, or approximately one million women in Canada. Endometriosis occurs when tissue from inside the womb grows outside of the womb, such as in different areas of the pelvis. Half of women with endometriosis experience sexual pain, which is felt as pelvic pain with deep penetration during sexual activity.
Sexual pain in endometriosis can occur when the endometriosis cells show invasive qualities. We recently identified non-inherited gene mutations in this type of invasive endometriosis.
Our team has established a registry of endometriosis patients along with surgical samples from these patients. I will validate the role of gene mutations in endometriosis sexual pain, in particular whether these mutations are associated with invasion of endometriosis, and also with increased nerve growth around endometriosis.
In the future, gene mutation testing could be incorporated into clinical care for endometriosis to identify subgroups and promote more individualized care. These mutations could also be potential novel treatment targets for this common condition in women.