Woman holding stomach and holding endometriosis ribbon

What Are the Main Causes of Endometriosis?

Defining Endometriosis and the Factors that Cause It

Endometriosis is a condition that affects women every single day, nationwide. It occurs when uterine-lining tissue begins to forms outside of the uterus, which causes cells to implant on top of the ovaries, within the intestines, throughout the fallopian tubes, and on the lining of the pelvis. When a woman undergoes her menstruation cycle, these cells shed, bleed and cause pain, as well as adhesions. Endometriosis can bring about unwanted symptoms such as extra blood, heightened menstrual cramping and can even play a large contributing role in a woman’s infertility.  There is a multitude of things that cause endometriosis in a woman and they are factors that are usually not preventable or easy to prevent. Here’s everything you need to know about the causes of endometriosis.

It Runs in the Family  

Endometriosis could very well be hereditary. This is not uncommon, as there are many other gynecological and reproductive conditions that are passed down from family member to family member and involve a similar genetic makeup as well.

Entering Retrograde Menstruation

During a regular menstrual cycle, menstrual blood leaves the body completely. During retrograde menstruation, however, menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows backward, through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. Since these endometrial cells have no other place to go, they stick to the pelvic walls and other pelvic organs, where they grow, thicken and bleed. For this reason, retrograde menstruation is a common cause of endometriosis.

Embryonic Cell Growth and Transformation

While some cells travel safely throughout a woman’s reproductive system without ever becoming harmed, others become affected by hormone imbalances. Sometimes hormones, like estrogen, can transform embryonic cells into endometrial cells. These endometrial cells can then implant during puberty, bringing about endometriosis. Embryonic cells that transform in this way typically settle in a woman’s belly or pelvis creating symptoms of pain.

Lymph Fluid or Blood Carrying Endometrial Cells

A woman’s reproductive system contains different kinds of fluid and blood that travel to and from various regions of her reproductive organs. In some cases, these bodily fluids can help transport endometrial cells to various areas of the body. Lymph fluid or blood can cause endometriosis in this type of way as well.

A Compromised Immune System

Failing or weak immune systems have a negative impact on a person’s health. However, a woman with a compromised immune system may have a body that is unable to recognize endometrial tissue. Because of this, the body is not able to destroy the endometrial tissues that are growing outside of the uterus. Her body will ultimately not be able to rid itself of endometrial tissue or cells, causing the condition to fully form and grow.

Endometrial Cells Form During a Baby’s Development 

A baby’s development can bring about unwanted changes and alterations to a woman’s overall health, especially within her reproductive system. When endometriosis cells form outside of the uterus at any point during a woman’s pregnancy, it makes it extremely easy for endometriosis to develop since there’s no way for the cells to leave her body. Therefore, the endometrial cells and tissues grow and develop into the full-blown condition over time.

Endometriosis Treatment in New York

Endometriosis can be an extremely painful and unwanted condition. However, there are options that women have in terms of treatment for endometriosis. These treatment options include hormone therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and laparoscopic or robotic surgery. At the NYU Langone Reproductive Specialists of New York, we are a fertility practice that treats endometriosis with all of these aforementioned options and treats infertility. Please contact us at an NYU Langone RSofNY fertility center near you to schedule an appointment and receive an accurate diagnosis for your condition today by filling out a form online!