Risk Factors

Risk Factors

An estimated 5 million women in America have endometriosis. But who is at risk, and why? There are a number of known, specific risk factors that have been determined to predispose certain women to the condition more than others. Here is a rundown of the common risk factors for endometriosis:

Family History
If the condition of endometriosis is present in other family members, especially in a mother or a sister, this tends to increase the likelihood of a woman to develop the condition herself.

Age
Endometriosis most typically occurs in women that are between the ages of 25 and 40, however, this is just an average range. Ultimately, the condition can occur in teenagers as well as in adult women of any age.

Menstrual History
Women who currently have or have had issues with menstruation in their lives tend to be at a higher risk for developing endometriosis. These higher-risk women usually have a shorter than normal menstrual cycle (i.e. more frequent periods) with a heavier flow while they last, as well as longer duration periods. They may have begun menstruating sooner than their peers and at a younger average age than most women.

Not Having Children
Pregnancy seems to have a protective effect against developing endometriosis. Having had one or more children decreases a woman's risk of developing endometriosis, and not having had children is connected with a greater risk for developing the condition. However, that said, endometriosis can still occur in women who have had children.

Dietary Factors
Some studies have shown that the consumption of trans fats and red meat regularly in the diet can increase a woman's risk of developing endometriosis. Conversely, a diet consisting of lots of green leafy vegetables, a variety of fruits, moderate amounts of lean meats plus omega-3 fatty acids (found in flax, fish and in supplement form) may offer a protective effect against the condition.

These are just some of the most common risk factors for endometriosis. There are exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of endometriosis cases tend to be in women with one or more of these risk factors.