Women's Health

Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Is Endometriosis Hereditary?

Key Takeaways

  • Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that affects the linings of the uterus called the endometrium. 
  • In the case of endometriosis, the tissues grow outside of the uterus and can affect the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
  • Women who have a family history of endometriosis are more likely to have daughters with the same problem.

Endometriosis is a serious gynecological condition that affects the whole female reproductive system. There are many possible causes for this condition and the genetic factor is one of them. Visit your gynecologist if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Chronic pain in the abdomen and pelvic region
  • Painful menstrual cycles
  • Painful sexual intercourse

Endometriosis is a condition that affects the linings of the uterus called the endometrium. The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus, which thickens during a period. In the case of endometriosis, the tissue grows outside of the uterus and can affect the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It helps the uterus to accept the zygote in the case of pregnancy. If a woman is diagnosed with endometriosis, she will feel pain in the pelvic area. The ovaries, uterosacral ligaments, urinary bladder, vagina, and rectum are affected by this condition. Half of the women diagnosed with endometriosis also have problems with infertility. There are many cases where the problem is solved with medications and surgery. The surest method to diagnose endometriosis is through an endometrial biopsy.

There is no particular cure for endometriosis. However, by following the gynecologist’s instructions such as cutting back on alcohol, smoking, and taking appropriate medications can improve the condition. 

Endometriosis

What causes endometriosis?

There are no specific causes of endometriosis. However, there are certain theories that have been attributed to its possible causes. They include:

  • Retrograde menstruation: In this medical condition, the blood that passes out of a woman's body during menstruation contains certain endometrial cells that go back into the fallopian tubes and then back into the pelvic opening instead of going out of the body. These cells that lose their direction in the process, get stuck into the walls of the pelvic area as well as on the surface of other organs around the pelvic area. Here, the cells begin to grow and get thickened. They could also bleed during the menstruation cycle.
  • Changes in peritoneal cells: There are cells that line around the inner part of the abdomen and go in towards the endometrial cells. Certain hormonal and immunity factors could cause changes in these peritoneal cells, which could again result in endometriosis.
  • Embryonic cell transformation: Certain hormones such as estrogen could cause changes to occur in the embryonic cells. During puberty, these changed cells could implant themselves in the endometrial cells causing endometriosis.
  • Surgical implantation: Sometimes, endometriosis could also result due to certain surgical procedures such as a C-section or hysterectomy. After the procedure, the endometrial cells could attach themselves to the incision and the scar, which develops post surgery.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Sometimes, women who have problems with their immune system are more likely to develop endometriosis. Some women have it as a birth abnormality. There is also a genetic theory that endometriosis is hereditary. Women who have a family history of this condition are more likely to have daughters with the same problem. The following are the most common symptoms of endometriosis:

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of endometriosis, make an appointment with your gynecologist. The gynecologist will examine you and asks for your detailed history and symptoms. He or she will then decide whether surgery is needed or not.

Complications of Endometriosis 

One of the complications associated with endometriosis is infertility. Women who have a less severe form of this condition may be in a position to conceive and keep their baby in their womb for the entire term. However, about one-third of women who have endometriosis have trouble getting pregnant.

Medications taken for endometriosis do not really help in getting pregnant. However, a number of women were still able to conceive after the removal of endometrial tissues through surgery. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and specific fertility treatments are usually considered to help women conceive.

If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis and wants to have a baby, then it is better that you plan and try to conceive earlier rather than delaying it. The symptoms of your condition could worsen sooner or later, making your chances of getting pregnant quite slim. In case you are finding it difficult to naturally conceive, then try to speak with your doctor to know your options and other treatment plans.

Treatment

There is no particular therapy for endometriosis. Women can take painkillers to ease their discomfort or take hormonal therapies and oral contraceptives. Endometriosis can also be treated by taking vitamin supplements, drinking herbal teas, certain lifestyle changes, and even acupuncture. The patient should consume less sugar and white flour products. Endometriosis is sometimes the main reason why some women cannot get pregnant. However, with proper therapy, they still have a chance to conceive.

Endometriosis affects more than 170 million women worldwide. No woman is too young to have endometriosis.

Endometriosis is sometimes hereditary and can be passed from mother to daughter. The condition is less common in African-American and Caribbean women and more commonly observed in women with Asian origin. If you suspect that you have endometriosis, you should discuss it with your closest female family members (mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, or daughter). They should also check their symptoms because there is a great possibility that more than one woman in the family has the same condition.  

Is endometriosis a genetic problem?

Genetics play an important role in determining the risk factors of endometriosis. If you have a sister or if your mother is suffering from endometriosis, then it certainly adds up the risk of you getting the same condition at some point in your life. Although it is not definitive, the chances always exist. Studies have indicated that endometriosis is a result of certain changes in the cells, just like cancer. In the case of endometriosis, the changes made could be due to genetic vulnerability.

Can dietary changes help you manage endometriosis?

Like many other conditions, endometriosis can also have an impact on the quality of your life. It can also shake up your confidence levels, especially if it causes infertility. Your lifestyle and dietary intake also play important roles in managing endometriosis. More than treating the condition, a change in your diet and lifestyle could go a long way in helping you deal better with endometriosis symptoms. Following a healthy lifestyle and diet can help you in a number of ways such as:

  • Reducing symptoms associated with pain
  • Relieving abdominal cramps 
  • Relieving bloating and swelling
  • Lowering high estrogen levels triggered by endometriosis
  • Losing weight 
  • Getting rid of the toxins from the body

Improving your overall diet also helps you:

  • Raise your energy levels by giving your body the right nutrients
  • Boost your body's immunity levels 
  • Improve your health and the overall functioning of your body

Certain foods can play havoc with your body when coupled with endometriosis. The reason is that some foods can trigger a chemical reaction in the body that could worsen your symptoms. Having a controlled dietary plan made specifically for endometriosis will help you completely eliminate harmful food groups, thereby reducing unnecessary chemical reactions.

A number of studies have indicated a strong link between endometriosis and the consumption of foods that are high in red meat but low in green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, and natural fibers. The connection is also seen in other uterine conditions such as fibroids. Again, exercise plays an important role in regulating the hormones in the body and causes a reduction in the symptoms associated with endometriosis. To make certain lifestyle changes, the following steps could make a huge difference:

  • Completely cut out unhealthy carbs from your grocery list. Foods loaded with lots of sugar and carbohydrates do not provide a number of nutritional benefits and may only end up worsening your condition.
  • Snack up on fresh fruits and vegetables. One of the most common problems associated with endometriosis is constipation, which can be relieved by eating foods that are high in fiber.
  • Add in vegetables to your favorite foods like pasta and noodles to make it as nutritious as possible.
  • Start with brisk walking every day for at least 30 minutes and then slowly move on to high-intensity workouts to help you build up your body better.
  • Do not let depression take over you, especially when you are dealing with fertility issues associated with endometriosis. Depression can further cause hormonal imbalances in your body that could hinder your treatment and recovery process.