Baby Years and the Risk of Endometriosis


Baby Years and the Risk of Endometriosis

Early-life factors may have an effect on a woman’s risk of developing endometriosis.

Key Points

Highlights:

  • Early-life factors such as being breastfed, having had vaginal bleeding at birth, and a father who smoked could have an influence on a woman’s risk of developing endometriosis later in life.

Importance:

  • Identifying risk factors associated with endometriosis could help design strategies to prevent or better manage the disease.

What's done here:

  • Researchers conducted a case-controlled study in 440 women with surgically-confirmed endometriosis and 880 healthy controls.

Key results:

  • Women who were not breastfed as infants were twice as likely to develop endometriosis later in life.
  • Neonatal vaginal bleeding and paternal smoking seem to be risk factors for endometriosis. 
  • There may be a risk factor trend between Caesarean delivery and endometriosis.

Limitations:

  • This was a retrospective study and there may be some recall bias on information about the early life of women who took part in the study. 

Lay Summary

Early-life factors such as whether a baby was breastfed, have had vaginal bleeding at birth, or whether or not their father was a smoker may be associated with her risk of developing endometriosis in later life. 

This is according to a study conducted in Chinese women and published in The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care.

Identifying risk factors that may increase the risk of endometriosis could help design strategies to better manage or even prevent the disease.

In recent years, researchers have been investigating the potential role of early-life factors in the development of endometriosis. However, most of these studies were conducted on a small number of women and the results were inconclusive.

Here, a team of researchers in China led by Dr. Hua conducted a case-controlled study in 1,320 women.  A total of 440 of the women had surgically confirmed endometriosis and 880 were healthy controls.

The researchers conducted interviews with the women in person as well as with their mothers. Following statistical analyses, they found that women who were not breastfed as infants were twice as likely to have endometriosis than those who were breastfed. This suggests that breastfeeding could be a protective factor against endometriosis.

Inversely, vaginal bleeding at birth seems to be a risk factor for endometriosis and so is paternal smoking.   

The study found that Caesarean delivery may also be a risk factor for the development of endometriosis later in life but the association was not statistically significant. 

The authors reiterated that more studies are needed to confirm these findings. 


Research Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31055972


early-life factors risk of endometriosis

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