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What Causes Endometriosis?

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  • The exact cause of endometriosis hasn’t been fully determined, although there are body-related functions that may predispose you to it
  • Genetics, surgical scars and retrograde menstruation are possible reasons why endometriosis develops
  • Women diagnosed with endometriosis may find it difficult to conceive a child since the condition can negatively impact their reproductive health

The exact cause of endometriosis hasn’t been fully determined.1 However, possible connections between endometriosis and its potential triggers have been discovered, such as:2,3,4

  • Retrograde menstruation — This is a condition wherein menstrual blood that contains endometrial cells moves backward and goes inside your fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity instead. The endometrial particles can then grow and thicken in these locations, and possibly cause pain during your monthly period.5
  • Circulation of endometrial cells throughout your body — Authors of a 2015 study noted that it’s possible for endometrial tissue to enter your lymphatic system and attach to other parts of the body, like your pelvis.6
  • Theory of induction — According to authors of this 2013 Diagnostic Pathology study, the theory of induction refers to an instance wherein particles released from the endometrium “cause transformation of undifferentiated mesenchymal cells to endometrial tissue.”7
  • Fetal development — Research has shown that endometriosis may already be present in a developing fetus.8
  • Surgical scars — People who undergo procedures like a hysterectomy or Caesarean section may be at risk for this disease since endometrial tissue can move from one area to another.
  • Weakened immune system — The Office on Women’s Health asserts that if your immune system is weak, it may not be effective in combating abnormal endometrial tissue that has developed outside your uterus.9
  • Genetics — If you have relatives who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, there’s a possibility you can develop it too. Some studies have also hinted that there are genes that may predispose a woman to endometriosis.10,11
  • Hormones, specifically estrogen — During your menstrual cycle, the hormone estrogen assists in thickening your endometrium.12 However, as a 2016 study points out, increased levels of localized estrogen and abnormal cytokine quantities may influence your endometriosis risk.13

These Risk Factors Could Make a Difference

There are certain risk factors that may increase your chances of being diagnosed with endometriosis, such as:14,15

  • First instance of childbirth after 30 years old
  • Having an abnormal uterus
  • Menstrual cycles less than 27 days apart
  • Menstrual flow lasting seven or more days
  • History of pelvic infections, uterine abnormalities or health issues characterized by inhibited release of menstrual blood
  • Increased estrogen levels brought on by lack of exercise, and caffeine or alcohol intake

Watch Out for These Complications

If you start noticing symptoms of endometriosis, a checkup is crucial. According to MedlinePlus, you may be predisposed to complications like long-term pelvic pain and appearance of cysts in your pelvis, which could burst. Endometrium-caused blockages to your intestines or urinary tract or development of cancer in areas where this tissue previously appeared are possible too, albeit rare.16

Endometriosis could make it difficult for you to get pregnant,17 as around 30% to 50% of females with this condition are infertile.18 The UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology department also notes that endometriosis can cause inflammation that may impair ovary, fallopian tube, uterus or egg cell function. It can also inhibit the fallopian tubes’ ability to receive an egg cell after ovulation.19

On a positive note, most women with mild endometriosis symptoms can still get pregnant. Fertility treatments or a laparoscopy, wherein removes growths and scar tissue are extracted from the body, are some options that women with endometriosis can consider if they want to conceive a child.20

MORE ABOUT ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis: Introduction

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis Causes

Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Endometriosis Stages

Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis in Pregnancy

Endometriosis vs Adenomyosis

Endometriosis Prevention

Endometriosis Diet

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