A family history of endometriosis, and a history of pelvic surgery and galactorrhea (spontaneous milk flow from the breast) have all been identified as risk factors for endometriosis diagnosis in infertile women. The results were published in the International Journal of Fertility and Sterility, in a study titled “Evaluation of Risk Factors Associated With Endometriosis in Infertile Women“.
Endometriosis is characterized by the benign proliferation of the endometrium outside the uterus, leading to pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful periods, and infertility, which affects women’s physical and mental well-being. Approximately 50 percent of infertile women who face surgery are diagnosed with endometriosis, which is often the underlying cause of their infertility. However, little is known about risk factors for endometriosis in these women.
To unravel demographic, personal characteristic, and reproductive variables, as well as contraception and menstruation patterns associated with endometriosis in infertile women, the team analyzed surgical patients retrospectively. The women had been evaluated by laparoscopy between 2011 and 2013 at an infertility institute in Iran. From the 1,282 patients analyzed, 341 were infertile women with endometriosis and 332 were infertile women with a normal pelvis, who were used as controls.
Women with endometriosis did not differ from the comparison group concerning age at first period, type of infertility, duration of infertility, and cigarette smoking habits. Furthermore, investigators did not find any associations between endometriosis and the use of intrauterine devices or exposure to oral contraceptives, as well as abnormalities in the genital tract, pelvic inflammatory disease, or sexual transmitted diseases.
Significant differences, however, were found concerning the length of menstrual cycles, age, number of pregnancies, and history of abortion. Patients with endometriosis were also found to be more likely to have a family history of endometriosis, history of galactorrhea, and history of pelvic disease.
In a logistic regression model, which may help predict endometriosis diagnosis, the number of pregnancies, family history of endometriosis, history of galactorrhea, history of pelvic surgery, pelvic pain, painful intercourse, painful periods, premenstrual spotting, fatigue and diarrhea were all significantly associated with endometriosis. The number of pregnancies was negatively correlated with endometriosis.
“Due to the high prevalence of endometriosis, consultation in relation to risk factors for endometriosis, will be helpful for early screening, detection and prevention of disease,” the authors concluded.