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Risk factors for endometriosis

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Some risk factors of endometriosis include:

  • obstruction of menstrual outflow (e.g.- mullerian anomalies)
  • exposure to diethylstilbestrol in utero
  • prolonged exposure to endogenous estrogen (e.g., because of early menarche, late menopause, or obesity)
  • short menstrual cycles
  • low birth weight
  • exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (1)

Endometriosis has, in the past, been said to be more common among women who are:

  • nulliparous or bear children late in life
  • high-achievers with a type A personality
  • Caucasian
  • between the ages of 30 - 40 years; although it may occur in younger age groups, including some teenagers
  • high social class
  • underweight

Current/recent use of the combined oral contraceptive (COC), smoking and exercise may have a protective effect (2).


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