Risk of endometriosis and related occupational factors among working women

Risk of endometriosis and related occupational factors among working women

Study assesses occupational risk factors associated with endometriosis among working women in South Korea

Key Points


  • Significant associations between endometriosis risk and occupational characteristics, higher socioeconomic status, and health factors are revealed.


  • This is the first study in the literature to discuss the prevalence of endometriosis and related risk factors along with occupational characteristics in working Korean women.

What's done here

  • This study was conducted to investigate the multifaceted factors associated with endometriosis and assess their respective risks in the Korean working population.
  • Data from the extensive 2007–2015 National Health Insurance Service–Female Employees database was utilized.
  • Different factors, such as demographic, lifestyle, occupational, and environmental variables were assessed.

Key results

  • Endometriosis prevalence was 2.9% with higher occurrences noted in the age groups of 21–40 and 41–60 years.
  • Higher socioeconomic status was linked to an increased prevalence of endometriosis.
  • Underweight individuals were found to have a higher risk of endometriosis.
  • No significant associations were observed with smoking or drinking behaviors.
  • Higher rates of endometriosis were observed in office workers and longer-duration workers.

Strengths and limitations

  • The data being representative of the whole nation of South Korea, enabling the generalization of its findings is the strength of the study.
  • Limitations are lack of inclusion of admitted patients, lack of clinical diagnosis information for endometriosis, obstetric details, working conditions, exercise levels, and dietary factors.

Lay Summary

As a debilitating disease, endometriosis is well known to have effects on the patient's overall quality of life. Various studies have consistently reported that working women face an increased risk of endometriosis growth.

Lee et al. from Korea conducted a study to explore factors associated with endometriosis and estimate their risks in the Korean working population. The study was published in the October 2023 issue of the journal PLoS One  The authors used the 2007–2015 National Health Insurance Service–Female Employees database that included data from around 150.000 working women aged 15–64 years. Endometriosis cases were identified based on hospital visits with relevant diagnosis codes. Occupational characteristics such as work type, duration, and enterprise size were considered, along with socioeconomic factors like age and household income. Health status indicators, lifestyle behaviors, and comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes, anemia, and BMI were also examined. The cumulative prevalence of endometriosis based on work type during follow-up years was assessed and age-standardized prevalence ratios according to the International Standard Industrial Classification were calculated.

The prevalence of endometriosis was 2.9%, with higher occurrences observed within the age groups of 21–40 and 41–60 years. Higher socioeconomic status was shown to be associated with the risk of endometriosis showing that it is reported more often in this group of women.

Being underweight and anemic, and not having hypertension or diabetes were more likely associated with endometriosis. No significant link was found between smoking or drinking behaviors and endometriosis. The authors comment that there are conflicting results from different studies performed on different populations regarding this subject, therefore more research is needed to identify the impact. 

Office workers and longer-duration workers had higher rates of endometriosis than manual workers and shorter-duration workers. Regression analysis revealed that workers aged 41–60 and underweight individuals faced higher risks of endometriosis. Despite no significant association with the type of work, the cumulative prevalence increased in office and manual workers. Age-standardized prevalence ratios indicated higher rates in certain occupational categories. The authors conclude by saying that their study sheds light on occupational factors influencing endometriosis risk among Korean female workers, offering crucial insights for further research and the development of preventive strategies.

Research Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37797051/

endometriosis occupation working women risk factors office workers


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