Medical professionals today don’t have a perfect understanding of why endometriosis develops, but they’ve observed certain markers in women who have it. Following are five factors that increase your chances of developing endometriosis.
If you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, nature may have played a role. Genes from both your mother and your father can increase your chances of developing it. If your mother, sister, or grandmother had endometriosis, you’re 7-10 times more likely to develop it than those with no family connection.
Frequency of menstruation
Frequency of menstruation is another factor involved in endometriosis. Risk factors include an early start to menstruation, a short monthly cycle, and longer menstrual periods. The average number of days of a menstrual cycle is 28, with the range anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Menstruating every 27 days or less, starting menstruation before age 12, and having periods that last seven days or longer, all increase your risk.
Abnormal menstrual flow
Normal menstrual flow comes out of the vagina. In a condition called retrograde menstruation, the blood goes backward into the Fallopian tubes, going outside the uterus and into your pelvic cavity. Cells from that blood, called endometrial cells, can stick to the pelvic walls and organs, leading to endometriosis. Every month, the cells grow and then bleed during your cycle, when more of them may stick to your pelvic wall.
For many women, some blood may flow back through the Fallopian tubes, but the cells are dispelled by the body, so no abnormal condition develops. But in some cases, the endometrial cells stick to the pelvic wall instead of being discharged, causing the pain and inflammation of endometriosis. Possible causes of retrograde menstruation leading to endometriosis include fibroids or polyps, or a structural abnormality of your uterus, cervix, or vagina.
Immune system disorder
A possible immune system disorder or immune weakness may contribute to endometriosis. If your immune system is weakened because of another health condition, your body may not recognize the tissue outside the uterus as abnormal and shed it as would happen normally.
High estrogen level and heavy menstrual bleeding
In addition to frequency of menstruation, the heaviness of your flow can be a factor in developing endometriosis. A thick endometrium, the mucus membrane that lines the uterus, can cause heavier bleeding. If you bleed heavily during menstruation, it could be because you have a high estrogen level, which causes a thick endometrium.
Having normal hormone levels is important to your health. Dr. Weyhrich determines if your hormone levels need adjustment and provides the proper treatment.
There are four stages of endometriosis. It’s best to be seen right away if you think you may have the condition; as with any health problem, early treatment is advantageous. It reduces the chance of scarring and lesions and can keep the disorder under control.
You don’t have to suffer every month with painful endometriosis; there is help. If you suspect you have endometriosis, don’t wait another day. Dr. Weyhrich provides compassionate, expert treatment. Call the office, or book an appointment online today.