Helping women with chronic illnesses

Could Endometriosis Diagnosed In 18 Month Old Be Related to Toxins?

This week, I came across an abstract that riveted my attention:

Endometriosis-associated Serous Borderline Tumor and Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma of the Ovary: A Report of a Rare Lesion in an Infant

[Trigger alert: Before I proceed, there are some photos of young children in a video clip at the end of the post. I just wanted to let those who are struggling with infertility know that before you scroll down any further].

Personally, I think that this child’s case could provide endometriosis researchers important clues. My hope is that the researchers will continue to follow this child with long-term studies. I believe doing so may benefit not just the child mentioned in the article but the endometriosis community as a whole.

Having never heard of an 18 month old child diagnosed with endometriosis, my curiosity was immediately piqued. As it turns out, this is the first such case ever reported. Prior to reading the actual article, the first thought that popped into my head having seen the abstract was, “I wonder if the fact that this child is in Hong Kong has anything to do with it since that area is known to be very high in dioxin”.

The article did not mention dioxin. The thought that popped into my head was simple wondering on my part that was rooted in the fact that I have read about and seen videos clips over the years regarding waste management practices in China (and the sad fact that many countries ship their toxic garbage there illegally).

Since the medical community has not agreed upon “the cause” of endometriosis (and since I personally suspect there are many causes), I don’t think anyone can say why this 18 month old girl has endometriosis.

The case report titled, “Endometriosis-associated Serous Borderline Tumor and Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma of the Ovary: A Report of a Rare Lesion in an Infant” was published in the International Journal of Gynecological Pathology (January 2012 – Volume 31 – Issue 1 – p 98–102).

The full article can be accessed here and the authors are: Ronnie S.L. Ho, M.B.B.S., Godfrey C.F. Chan, M.D., F.R.C.P., Shau Yin Ha, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.P., and Philip P.C. Ip, M.B., Ch.B., F.R.C.Path.

From that article:

“There was no maternal history of endometriosis and the mother herself did not take any hormonal medication either prenatally, or during the 1 week of breast feeding after the child was born. On physical examination, the child showed no evidence of precocious puberty or thelarche.”

Back to the topic of endometriosis in general… There is no established cause of endometriosis. There are numerous theories (and some of them make sense to me). In my opinion, there may never be a sole cause of endometriosis that is agreed-upon by the medical community. I suspect that there are causes (plural) of endometriosis. There is some research that points to things that are linked to endometriosis and they may well be determined at a later date to be within the multiple causes I suspect are behind endometriosis.

One thing that has been linked to endometriosis is dioxin.

For those who are not familiar with the studies done on rhesus monkeys regarding endometriosis and dioxin exposure, click here for more info. That link goes on to say:

“Based on animal studies and observation of wildlife, impaired fertility is a result of exposure to endocrine disruptors. Infertility affects approximately 40% of women with endometriosis”

From Greenpeace:

There has been much attention to the topic of toxin emissions in Hong Kong:

Again, on a hopeful note I really do think that this case of the 18 month old diagnosed with endometriosis could provide endometriosis researchers important clues. Obviously, my heart goes out to the child and her family. I cannot imagine what it would be like to have an 18 month old child be diagnosed with endometriosis. I certainly don’t mean to be insensitive to the child or her family when I suggest her case may provide hope for the endometriosis community and possible clues for researchers. I just think that the mere fact that an 18 month old child has been diagnosed with endometriosis throws a total curve ball at the notion some doctors have had (the theory some doctors speak of as if it’s a/the cause: retrograde menstruation). Obviously, retrograde menstruation was not behind this child’s case of endometriosis!

As I indicated earlier, the question I posed initially wasn’t really a fair one. To my knowledge, no one can definitively answer the question I posed up front…

Could Endometriosis Diagnosed In 18 Month Old Be Related to Toxins?

Closing on a sober note…

In the course of searching online about dioxins in China for this blog post, I came across the following video clip. I’ve seen videos before about waste management practices in China and the high rates of dioxin there. This segment tied that together with discarded goods that are illegally shipped to China. What are your thoughts on it?

(I apologize in advance for any ads that may appear within the following clip. I don’t have any control over the ads CBS includes).

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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Reading: Could Endometriosis Diagnosed In 18 Month Old Be Related to Toxins?


1 AnnieNo Gravatar { 12.23.11 at 3:33 pm }

This is a fascinating case. I’ve never seen reliable data on the occurance of endo in different parts of the world, but it would be interesting research that could help explain the impact of environment.

Having lived in China, I was not shocked by the video clip but it’s certainly sad. My husband is actually applying for an expat position in China and although it would be an incredible opportunity for my kids to live there for a short time, the filth there does give me pause!
Annie´s last [type] ..The End

2 JeanneNo Gravatar { 12.27.11 at 2:52 am }


It would be interesting to see data on the occurrence of endometriosis by geographical location. I agree.

It is sad. I can understand why it gives you pause. I didn’t realize you had lived there.


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