Advertisement

What causes endometriosis?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

No one knows what causes endometriosis, but they have several theories as to its origination. Some believe endometriosis is caused by the backward flow of blood during menstruation, which spreads endometrial tissue to other parts of the body. Others believe that endometrial cells can be spread to different parts of the body through the blood or lymph systems. Some researchers speculate that some cells outside of the uterus have the potential to turn into endometrial cells. It may also be due to an immune disorder or family history. Whatever the root cause, it is known that the symptoms of endometriosis begin because of displaced endometrial tissue swelling and bleeding mostly during menstruation.

The most widely accepted cause of endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This occurs when tissue from the uterine lining (endometrial tissue) flows backward through your fallopian tubes while you're menstruating and implants in various sites, most commonly in the pelvis. The tissue gets trapped and can't leave the body.

However, no matter where it is in the body, endometrial tissue still responds to your hormones each month. This tissue can become inflamed, bleed and develop into scar tissue. When the tissue is attached to organs in the pelvic and abdominal cavities, it may cause severe pain, infertility and other problems.

Other theories suggest that alterations in the immune system response, hormonal imbalances or environmental causes may be related to the development of endometriosis. Experts also have found strong evidence suggesting a genetic link.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

Continue Learning about Endometriosis

4 Potential Benefits of Endometriosis Support Groups
4 Potential Benefits of Endometriosis Support Groups
Endometriosis is a condition that affects an estimated 1 out of 10 women who are of reproductive age. Though this makes endometriosis fairly common, t...
Read More
How Can I Manage the Pain from Endometriosis?
How Can I Manage the Pain from Endometriosis?
How Does Hormone Therapy Work for Endometriosis?
How Does Hormone Therapy Work for Endometriosis?
How Does Birth Control Treat Endometriosis?
How Does Birth Control Treat Endometriosis?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.