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Painful Health Conditions: Endometriosis

We don't really know what causes endometriosis, and possible causes or factors may be different from person to person.

Family history: women who have a close relative with the condition are up to 7-10 times more likely to get endometriosis. Also, it is common with twins that both may get endometriosis, particularly if they are identical twins.

Retrograde (backwards) menstruation: When a woman has a period, the blood flows out of the vagina, but also backwards along the fallopian tubes into the pelvis. In 90% of women, the blood, which will contain endometrial cells is absorbed or broken down and causes no symptoms; however, in women with endometriosis this endometrial tissue starts to grow.

Metaplasia: the conversion of the normal pelvic tissue into endometriosis.

Other possible factors that may have a role in causing endometriosis are:

having first pregnancy at an older age

  • heavy bleeding during periods and periods lasting longer than five days

  • first period before 11 years of age

  • regularly having less than 27 days between periods, or having shorter regular cycles

  • changes in the immune cells

  • low body weight

  • alcohol use

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