Endometriosis UK

Endo and low immunity

Hi Ladies, I know this might seem a strange question, but do any of you find that you seem to pick up any bug going and that it ends up as bad as it can get and takes ages to shift? I find that whether it is a sickness bug or streaming cold (as I have had all this weekend), I always seem to catch them when others don't and they really knock me off my feet! Have felt soooo ill this weekend and is a only a cold. I am sure it must be something to do with low immunity caused by endo. Perhaps because we endo sufferers are fighting all the time our bodies can't cope with anything more? Would love to hear if anyone else finds this and it isn't just me!!! XXXX

7 Replies

Hi Bokkie.

I used to repeatedly pick up everything that was doing the rounds, felt as if I was constantly complaining of some ailment.

What I have found useful, is taking spatone liquid iron sachets and really strong vitamin C & E tablets, it seems to have really helped this winter, and where others appear to have had really nasty colds and flu type bugs I seem to have just had a few sniffles at most...

Might be worth a try....

All the best



Hi emmajane 127

I will definitely give those a go. Anything to stop my daughter saying to me that I have always got some sort of bug! Plus this awful cold is now in day 5 and doesn't seem to want to go! Thanks for the info!




Might be worth mentioning to your GP too. Before I was diagnosed, I got every cold going and they always went onto my chest, I got so fed up I told my GP, was tested for asthma and discovered I have it. Now I take a daily inhaler I don't get anywhere near as many colds and I am also allowed the flu jab each winter.


the pneumonia jab and regular flu jabs helped me

Good luck


Hi Bokkie,

That sounds pretty much like me! However, I am unfortunate in that I suffer from Chronic Sinusitis, Asthma and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome, as well as Endo.

I have often suspected that the problems originate from a depleted immune system - and there may be some truth in this, as Endo is often found to be common alongside a range of other illnesses, many of which are auto-immune in nature. Perhaps the body is so busy trying to fight off Endo, that it gets overstretched if anything else attacks it? OR, maybe Endo is itself a sign of a low immune system? I've listed some reading that may give you further info.

The other thing that I reckon may leave us susceptible to recurrent infections, and struggling to fight them off, is the possibility that Endo can be linked to Anaemia. The fact that Endo causes some women to have very heavy periods, can lead to them becoming Anaemic due to lack of Iron. This is known as Iron Deficiency Anaemia, and can sometimes be rectified by adding more Iron into the diet (eating food rich in it, such a broccoli, pulses, red meat, nuts, and dried fruit; or else by taking Iron supplements (such as Iron tablets). People who cannot tolerate Iron tablets (such as myself) can sometimes still derive benefits from taking Iron supplements in the form of drinks/liquids (such as one made by the company Sanatogen).

Another type of Anaemia sometimes found alongside Endo is Pernicious Anaemia, which is often hereditary in nature, and is where the body struggles to process Vitamin B12. Most types of Anaemia can lead to fatigue, lethargy and some shortness of breath. Sometimes, they will also cause the skin to become pale, and sufferers may bruise easily. They can also leave a sufferer feeling "run down" and infection-prone.

Anyone concerned that they could be Anaemic is best to ask their G.P. to look into it. Blood tests can be undertaken to determine whether Anaemia is an issue, and your G.P. may be able to advise regarding appropriate treatment.

One further thing that I suspect may leave women with Endo open to infections is stress. Now, please don't think that I'm blaming you in any way - by NO means am I trying to suggest that you have brought stress on yourself, or that you are just poor at coping! No, what I actually mean is that living for a long time with a persistent and debilitating illness like Endo can lead to stress - physically and emotionally. First of all, the constant pain and other unpleasant symptoms often associated with Endo can get in the way of daily life, causing frustration and irritation. Living daily with pain is not easy, and it can be very wearisome - after a while, grinding you down. Even if you do not generally notice, or think you have learned to tolerate living with the pain, it may still be having an effect. Here's why - the swelling and inflammation caused by Endo implants can cause the body to release a stress hormone called Cortisol. This sort of creates a vicious cycle - as Cortisol not only affects the immune system in a negative way, but it also causes some people to gain weight, mostly around the waist area. This "Adipose" fat can create enzymes that act to raise the body's Oestrogen levels, which, in turn, creates an environment that is actually thought to encourage Endo to grow! So, not only do you have persistent Endo, but also a lowered immune system, and more infections!

OK! this IS only MY thoughts on matters... but I am inclined to think that in personal experience we may have some hidden answers. I know personally that I have Endo; as well as Chronic Sinusitis, Asthma and Post Viral Fatigue. I also know that blood tests have shown I am low in haemoglobin and ferritin (Iron reserves), thus Anaemia is an issue. I am aware that my Endo causes pain, and has lead to several surgeries - and that this stresses me sometimes. I know that since starting with symptoms of Endo, I have also gained a little weight. So, it could be that for me, a combination of Endo, chronic pain, frequent surgery, stress and Anaemia have affected my immune system, and leave me open to infection. THAT'S how I tend to see it!

It is not always easy to find immediate answers to what is going on for us; nor is it always easy to know if the answers we have are the right answers. Sadly, because Endo is still misunderstood, a lot of what us women who suffer from Endo go through to get our answers remains trial and error. However, we ARE perhaps the FIRST generation of women to really start asking serious questions about Endo - and maybe one day we will see results.

I can only ask you to think about your own situation, and to look at what is going on. Keep a diary of symptoms to see when they occur, and to see if your infections are maybe coinciding with your Endo symptoms, or your periods. Try to note when you feel most "well", and most "run down". The more you learn to spot patterns, they more you can ask your Doctors questions about why they may be occurring, and then perhaps get to the root cause. DO get tested for Anaemia if you think it may be an issue. Do try to eat a healthy, balanced (preferably Endo) diet, to keep your body conditioned, and to reduce symptom flare-ups. Do take supplements if you think they may be necessary (especially if advised to by your G.P.). There are many Homeopathic and Herbal supplements you can take to boost a flagging immune system; but it may be better to discuss this with your Doctor(s) first, to make sure they do not interact with any other medication you take.

Steam inhalations are good for colds and sinus infections - and you can add a few small drops of Rosemary or Tea Tree Oil which has antiseptic qualities. The steam can really help unblock a bunged-up nose, but also keeps the nasal lining moist (which is good). Try to avoid over-the-counter decongestants as they can dry out the lining of the nose, and leave it feeling sore and "chapped". And DRINK PLENTY of fluids - still water is the best - because bugs can truly dehydrate you and drain you of nutrients.

Other than that, you may wish to read some of the info I've sent as links. And talk things through with your G.P. and/or Endo Consultant. If there is a pattern where your infections are linked to your Endo, you may all wish to keep an eye on this.

I really do wish you every success in finding some relief. Take very good care of yourself.

Keep warm (but not too warm), relax, and concentrate on shifting that cold!

Best wishes,

Elaine Ellis. x

P.S. Links to info:






Hi Elaine, many thanks to you and the other ladies for your posts in response to my question. I am pretty sure that Endo does affect the immune system somehow. I was hospitalised with acute pneumonia back in 1999 and then went on to have many recurrent bouts of tonsillitis. For about 3 years I was given the flu jab but then they stopped calling me for it. I didn't know I had Endo then. If I get a cold it never tends to be a sniffle although I have to say that I am still trying to fight off this particular one; it's a real humdinger and I think this one is taking the longest to shift than any other! I have to say that I have been feeling really exhausted lately and I do get out of breath quite a lot or breath heavily (I am told). I am due at the doctors on Friday morning for a review (I am on blood pressure tablets) and blood tests (think it is for my iron, full blood count etc.) with the nurse, and I know it sounds weird but in a way I hope that I am feeling the way I am at the moment because my iron is low again and I can get something for that. I will definitely look into the supplements you mention and I am just about to boil the kettle for the steam inhalation! Thanks for the links Elaine; much appreciated! XXX


Hi Bokkie,

I'm sorry to hear that you are still having trouble getting rid of your cold; they can be pretty rotten, can't they!

I know the feeling when it comes to "never a sniffle"; I also tend to find it takes me a while to shift anything respiratory in nature. My hubby rarely gets respiratory infections, but when he does, it's usually just a matter of DAYS before he's well again (about 3-7 days). I seem to get stuck with respiratory bugs for a good couple of weeks before they start to ease.

Like you, I also used to be offered the Flu jab (I think because Asthma, which I have, is supposed to make you at greater risk). Then, for some bizarre and unknown reason, my last G.P. just stopped calling me for them. Mind you - the last G.P. Surgery I was at was pretty flippin' USELESS - I've since moved, and this G.P. does send me letters again inviting me for Flu jabs. I reckon the last one was just a) LAZY, b) INCOMPETENT, and c) CHEAP (trying to cut costs by putting patients at greater risk!).

For YEARS, my old G.P. just doled me out Antibiotics OVER THE TELEHONE! Their excuse was that they "knew I got recurrent sinus/chest infections"!! Funny how they never really bothered to investigate the cause (but THAT'S a WHOLE other story - one that has lead to SERIOUS complaints!).

In my case, I now know that I had Chronic Sinus Problems caused by a structural defect in my nose (misaligned septum). This, alone, left me prone to infections; when compounded by an immune system that was also under attack by Endo and Post Viral Fatigue Syndrome I reckon I am lucky not to have caught something REALLY NASTY. Frequent, but easily survivable, respiratory infections are, with hindsight, probably a blessing! I have had some MAJOR respiratory infections in the past (I sat my finals at University in 1994 in their Sick Bay, recovering from a bout of Pneumonia and Bronchitis!). Still, it could perhaps have been a lot worse for me...

Just make sure that you DO talk everything through with your G.P. when you see him/her. It could be that your Endo leaves you "run down" and susceptible to infection. It could be that Anaemia is an issue. Or, it may simply be that because of a history of tonsillitis and throat infections, you now have a "weakness" in that area which leaves you open to recurrent bugs of the same nature.

WHATEVER the issue, please DO try to take as much care of yourself as you can. Try not to feel guilty, or to blame yourself for needing to take things easy. I'm one of the world's worst when it comes to over-stretching myself following surgery or infections - for some reason I get bored VERY easily, and cannot bear sitting about. I HATE being unable to do housework and other jobs (hubby caught me vacuuming 3 days after a lap!). I've since learned (painful stitches don't half teach you!!), and understand now that our bodies need time and rest to recuperate. They also need a healthy diet, and the support of people who care for us.

MY recipe for respiratory infections is LOTS of rest, LOTS of fluids, warm relaxing baths (if you feel up to it), steam inhalations, and good wholesome easy-to-eat foods (such as broth, tuna mayo sandwiches). Works as well as anything else for me... along with trying to cadge the odd foot massage off hubby! Sometimes a little "feminine frailty" can have hidden benefits!!

Take care of yourself & best wishes,

Elaine x


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