Risk Factors for Endometriosis

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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop endometriosis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing endometriosis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for endometriosis include the following:

If your mother or sister has endometriosis, your chance of developing it is up to ten times higher than normal. A family history of endometriosis also increases your risk of having more severe symptoms of the disease.

Waiting to have children until you are older may increase your risk of endometriosis. Since the hormones produced during pregnancy stop ovulation and the menstrual cycle, the progress of endometriosis is slowed or stopped during pregnancy. Delaying pregnancy can allow endometriosis to become severe.

Defects in the uterus may block the normal flow of menstrual blood out of the uterus and through the vagina. This can cause the blood to spill into the abdomen through the fallopian tubes and lead to endometriosis.

Revision Information

  • The Endometriosis Association website. Available at: http://www.endometriosisassn.org. Accessed March 1, 2006.

  • Kistner’s Gynecology and Women’s Health. 7th ed. Mosby-Year Book; 1999.

  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at: http://www.nichd.nih.gov. Accessed March 1, 2006.

  • National Library of Medicine website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed March 2, 2006.

  • National Women’s Health Resource Center website. Available at: http://www.healthywomen.org. Accessed March 1, 2006.