From what I understand and have read (mostly in general internet articles, so for you hardcore researchers you are welcome to go search for actual published research articles) is that the general consensus is that we are not 100% sure what causes endometriosis. The most common culprit seems to be genetics. That it is passed down in a family. As with other diseases, it varies from person to person and it could be that you get endometriosis even though none of the below causes can be pinpointed as the reason why you have it. And it could be a combination of the possible known causes. From what I understand, is that not a lot is known and that it doesn’t get as much attention as for instance HIV or cancer, which I can understand as no one has died of it. Not directly anyway. But it causes so much heartache and depression and in some cases even leads to divorce. Which in my book is enough reason for scientists and researchers to rate it as high as HIV and Cancer.
Here are some possible causes that I have found listed on the internet as possible causes for endometriosis. The list is not complete, so feel free to comment if you are aware of anything else or know that one can be removed.
- Family history/genetics: like I mentioned, genetics is generally the number 1 culprit. If a close relative has endometriosis, then you could be up to 7-10 times more likely to get it. For me this was the case, my mother’s sister also has endometriosis. Despite this, she was blessed with 2 children (conceived naturally). Twins could also be at risk of both getting endometriosis, particularly if they are identical twins.
- Retrograde or backwards menstruation: During your period, blood flows out of your vagina and also backwards along your Fallopian tubes into your pelvis. This is not necessarily harmful as for 90% of woman the blood (containing endometrial cells) is absorbed and broken down. But for the remaining 10% of woman with endometriosis, the endometrial tissue starts to grow.
- Metaplasia: in some cases the normal pelvic tissue is converted into endometriosis
Apart from these, there are other factors that could influence the development of endometriosis. These are slightly more visible but could pass by unnoticed as they don’t necessarily mean something is wrong and can seem normal.
- Having your first pregnancy at an older age. Most woman persue their careers now-a-days and start with a family much later than my parents generation did.
- Having heavy bleeding during your periods and periods lasting longer than 5 days. This is also also feels slightly subjective to me, I mean not having much of a medical knowledge, how heavy is heavy? People also tells you that everybody’s body is different so what might seem normal to me might not be normal to you.
- Having your first period before the age of 11.
- Regularly having less than 27 days between periods or having shorter regular cycles.
- Change in immune cells
- Low body weight
- Alcohol use
Like I said this is not a complete list, and everybody is different. It is always best to consult a medical practitioner if you suspect anything might be abnormal. The internet is also a dangerous place in the sense that we all turn to Google and then think we are experts in a field. The best advise I can give is listen to your body and don’t put off seeing somebody. Doctors study hard and long to be where they are, find a good one and be 200% honest with them. Tell them every single little detail no matter how insignificant and stupid it might feel, they have seen and heard a lot. Nothing can replace a good and compassionate doctor.