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What Causes Endometriosis?

During March's Endometriosis Awareness Month, you may be wondering: What causes endometriosis? Will I get endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis is not known for sure, but here are some of the theories:

  • Retrograde menstruation — during menstruation, some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes, implants in the abdomen and grows. Because all women experience some menstrual tissue back-up, some experts believe an immune system problem and/or hormonal problem can contribute to the tissue growing in women who develop endometriosis.
  • The tissue is distributed through the lymph system or through the blood from the uterus to other parts of the body.
  • Since endometriosis runs in families, certain people might have genetic tendencies toward endometriosis. Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine recently found an inherited mutation located in part of the KRAS gene, which leads to abnormal endometrial growth and endometrial risk.
  • Some have theorized that remnants of tissue from when a woman was an embryo become endometriosis.
  • Endometrial tissue has been found in abdominal scars and might have been moved there accidentally during surgery.
  • Links have been demonstrated between dioxin exposure and getting endometriosis. Dioxin is a toxic chemical from the making of pesticides and the burning of wastes.

For more information on endometriosis, read Endometriosis Awareness: Five Things You Should Know.

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