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Is Endometriosis Genetic?

Is Endometriosis Genetic?


Evidence is beginning to support the theory that endometriosis may be genetic.

More Info: Endometriosis is a reproductive disorder that causes scarring that can lead to infertility. Women with endometriosis deal with long, painful periods each month. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but currently, over 5 million women in the United States suffer. Evidence shows there may be a link between this female health disorder and family history.

What is Endometriosis?

Each month the ovaries produce hormones that initiate the menstrual cycle. During this time, the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for egg implantation. With endometriosis, the cells that line the uterus grow outside of the womb, and may implant on other organs such as the ovaries or bowel. This migration of tissue leads to abdominal pain, bleeding and infertility issues.

Genetic Link

Doctors are unable to say exactly why some women develop endometriosis. What they do know is there are some common factors that put you at risk. Women who suffer from endometriosis often start their period at a very young age. Their menstrual cycles last for seven or more days. If they have short cycles, these women will have periods that are more frequent than every 28 days. The hymen may be closed causing blockage of menstrual flow, as well.

A woman who has a mother or sister with the condition is more likely to develop it. That indicates that genetic disposition is indeed a factor. A 2010 Oxford University study showed that women with two specific genetic variants are at higher risk for endometriosis. The study published by Nature Genetics compared the DNA makeup of over 15,000 women. Researchers found those with the two variants were more likely to have endometriosis. The medical community has known there was a genetic correlation for years, but this is the first study to prove it.



“Endometriosis – PubMed Health.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.

“New Genes Linked to Endometriosis.” Women’s Health Center: Information on Women’s Wellness, Nutrition, Fitness, Intimate Questions, and Weight Loss. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.

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