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. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656
2 Mayo Clinic, Endometriosis.