These 3 Things May Increase Your Risk for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a painful yet common disorder that can affect any woman after starting menstruation but is more common in women in their 30s and 40s. More than 10% of US women experience endometriosis, which is a leading cause of infertility.

Fortunately, there are many treatment options for women looking to get pregnant or looking to relieve endometriosis symptoms or both. The experienced team of gynecologists at Women’s Health Care Center, PLLC, share information on factors that may increase your risk for this widespread condition.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis gets its name from the endometrium, the lining of the uterus. It occurs when cells that typically grow inside the uterus grow outside the uterus. Often, they grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic organs. This tissue behaves as it would inside the uterus. It builds up near menstruation and sheds and bleeds during your period. 

It causes pain because this blood has nowhere to drain from your body and builds up inside. It can lead to scarring, irritation, and pain. In fact, pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. Other symptoms include pain with intercourse, pain while using the bathroom, excessive bleeding, and infertility.

Risk factors for endometriosis

While no one is sure what causes endometriosis, the medical community does recognize certain factors that put you more at risk than the general population. These factors include:

A close relative with the condition

If you have a first-degree family member who has endometriosis, you are at higher risk of developing the condition than the general public. A first-degree relative means your mother, sister, daughter, or grandmother. You have a 7 to 10 times higher risk of developing endometriosis than someone who does not have a family member with the condition. Even having a more distant relative increases your chances of developing this common disease.

An abnormal uterus

Any abnormal uterine factor that affects your menstrual flow can increase your risk of having endometriosis. One theory of what causes endometriosis is retrograde menstrual flow — flow that moves backward. Having uterine characteristics that increase the likelihood of retrograde flow, or interfere with flow in general, can increase your risk. These abnormalities include uterine fibroids, polyps, structural pelvic abnormalities, or cervix or vaginal obstruction. 

Short cycles, long periods, or heavy flows

The more frequently or intensely you experience your period, the more at risk you are of developing endometriosis. For example, those with a shorter cycle, which means 27 days or less, and those with heavy periods or longer-lasting periods of more than seven days have a higher chance of developing it. Also, starting your period young, before 11, increases your chances. 

Do you think you may have endometriosis? Call the Women’s Health Care Center in Helena, Montana, for an appointment, or book one online with one of our caring and experienced medical providers.

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