Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue found inside the uterus develops outside the organ. The resulting endometrial lesions typically occur next to the fallopian tubes and the cervix. In rare cases, they can even be found next to the rectum, liver, and lungs.
Estimates suggest that 1 in 10 women worldwide has endometriosis. The condition is one of the leading causes of infertility.
Fortunately, specialists have learned a lot about the risk factors of endometriosis in the last few decades. They’ve developed less invasive treatments that not only eliminate the symptoms of endometriosis but also preserve your ability to conceive.
Want to find out what factors may increase your chance of developing endometriosis? At Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey LLC, in Hackensack, New Jersey, Dr. Khashayar Shakiba has put together a list of the top five factors that increase the risk of endometriosis, along with some tips to combat the condition.
1. Family history and genetic makeup
Women who have family members suffering from endometriosis are seven to eight times more likely to develop the condition. So, if you have female relatives on either side of your family who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, you may benefit from a consult.
2. Abdominal surgery
Cesarean sections can cause the displacement of endometrial tissue. If your immune system fails to eliminate these misplaced cells, you can develop endometriosis.
A study on 709,090 women who underwent C-sections found that 3,110 of them developed endometriosis after their first procedure.
3. Being of reproductive age
During menstruation, the endometrium thickens and then sheds under the influence of hormones. Endometrial lesions outside the uterus attempt to do the same. These misplaced cells break down, causing light bleeding, inflammation, and scarring.
As a result, you’re more likely to experience endometriosis symptoms if you’re between the ages of 15 and 49.
Obesity is a risk factor for endometriosis because it’s associated with inflammation and excess estrogen. Higher levels of inflammation and estrogen exacerbate endometriosis symptoms and accelerate the progression of the condition.
Obesity is also a significant risk factor for increased estrogen levels in women who have stopped menstruating.
Older women with large waistlines are more likely to develop estrogen-dependent ailments because fat tissue can produce estrogen. Fortunately, studies show that losing weight can reduce your levels of circulating estrogen.
5. Exposure to environmental estrogen
Excess estrogen can trigger endometriosis. However, in order to avoid exposing yourself to environmental estrogen, you must avoid a lot of processed foods and cosmetics.
Parabens, preservatives used in foods and cosmetics, are shown to exert weak estrogenic effects. These compounds were even found in female breast tumors.
Studies also show that parabens in cosmetics can penetrate your skin.
Learn more about endometriosis
While some lifestyle changes can lower the risk and impact of endometriosis, many women still need treatment to manage their symptoms.
If you suffer from abdominal pain, heavy periods, painful intercourse, bowel or urinary disorders, or infertility, contact us at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey to schedule an appointment and get a diagnosis.