Medical professionals are still not sure exactly what causes endometriosis. The most likely causes are thought to include: 

  • genetics: if your mother, sister or aunt, for example, has endometriosis, your risk of developing endometriosis increases
  • retrograde (reverse) menstruation: blood shed during your period flows through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving your body.

Some of the other possible causes include: 

  • endometrial cells travelling through your blood or lymphatic system to other areas of your body1
  • an immune system issue that prevents your body from being able to destroy endometrial tissue found outside of the uterus
  • environmental factors such as weight, diet, and alcohol consumption
  • endometrial cells attaching themselves to a surgical incision after surgery
  • hormones that can change unformed cells into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty.2

Endometriosis is most likely the result of a combination of factors, which makes it harder to prevent. 

1 Mayo Clinic, Endometriosis, Mayo Clinic website, n.d., accessed 10 June 2021.

2 Mayo Clinic, Endometriosis.

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Endometriosis Patient Guide

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