December 7, 2021

Is Endometriosis Genetic

Endometriosis is a complicated condition, and it is caused by the abnormal development
Tomohiro Takano

Is Endometriosis Genetic?

Endometriosis is a complicated condition. It is caused by the abnormal development of tissue outside the uterus that looks like uterine lining (endometrial tissue). An individual's chance of developing it can be influenced by various variables other than genes.

Endometrial tissue sheds throughout a person's period in response to the hormonal changes of ovulation. This similar tissue outside the uterus has no place to shed with endometriosis, resulting in discomfort and pain. This article will discuss the link between endometriosis and genetics and the symptoms, risk factors, and possible treatments.

Does Genetics Play a Role in Developing Endometriosis? 

Endometriosis may be genetic. Although researchers are still trying to figure out the faulty gene, genetics is unlikely to be the single or most important risk factor. According to a 2019 study, there are over 24 potential causes apart from the gene.

In a 2010 research, 80 women with endometriosis and 60 women without it were compared. Endometriosis patients were more likely to have a family member who had the condition. Only 3% of individuals without endometriosis had a first-degree relative with the disease, compared to 5.9% of those with endometriosis.

It was still extremely low even if the chance of having a family with endometriosis was almost doubled. When researchers examined the symptoms of persons with endometriosis and a family history of the disease to those of patients with endometriosis but no family history, they found no significant changes.

Endometriosis was also shown to be more common in first-degree relatives (mother to daughters), second-degree relatives (aunt), and third-degree relatives (cousins), according to 1999 research.

Is There an Endometriosis Gene?

While many studies point to a strong endometriosis-genetic connection, researchers are still working to identify the specific genes associated with this disorder. One study review published by the National Institutes of Health lists more than two dozen possible genetic links. Some experts suggest that epigenetic factors have a powerful impact on the development of endometriosis, like other physical traits

Epigenetics is the study of the way genes are changed by their environment. A person with genetic risks for endometriosis may not develop the condition unless they are exposed to specific epigenetic risk factors like pollution or stress. 

The increased likelihood of endometriosis among family members supports the epigenetic theory as members of the same family live under similar conditions in similar environments. 

So is endometriosis genetic? Yes, at least in part. Research supports the link between endometriosis and heredity, but the exact gene or genes responsible for the disorder have not yet been identified. 

Who Is At Risk Of Endometriosis?

A person is more likely to develop endometriosis, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), if they have a first-degree relative who suffers from endometriosis, the first period before the age of 11, have menstrual periods that extend longer than 7 days, have a short menstrual cycle (less than 27 days), and are infertile.

A variety of factors, in addition to the potential genetic connection, may raise the chance of having endometriosis.

Menstrual Cycle Characteristics

Women who begin menstruating earlier than average and those with longer periods have an increased risk for endometriosis. Having fewer than 28 days between periods, periods that last seven days or more, and starting menstruation before the age of 12 can all increase your risk. 


Any girl or woman old enough to have a period can develop endometriosis. However, the condition is most often diagnosed when a woman is in her 20s or 30s. Experts believe the reason for the higher numbers of diagnoses during these years is related to fertility. 

Women who have endometriosis but have not yet experienced symptoms severe enough to require medical care may first discover they have the condition when it interferes with their ability to conceive. 

Excessive Alcohol Use

Alcohol increases estrogen levels, which can lead to a thicker uterine lining and increase endometriosis symptoms. In addition, excessive use of alcohol disrupts gut health and throws off the balance of gut bacteria. Much of the immune system resides in the GI tract, so any negative changes in the immune system can trigger symptoms in women whose endometriosis is related to immune system problems. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Endometriosis?

The main symptoms of endometriosis is pelvic pain, especially during the menstrual period. While period cramping is common for many women, pain from endometriosis is typically more severe and can increase over time. Depending on where the tissue develops, other symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Infertility issues
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Bruising during periods
  • Passing big blood clots over some time
  • Lengthy or frequent heavy periods
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Persistent lower back discomfort
  • Pain in the legs
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Constipation or unpleasant bowel motions, particularly during periods

Having severe pain symptoms is not necessarily an indication that you have severe endometriosis. Some women with advanced endometriosis experience little or no pain. 

If you have symptoms of endometriosis, see your doctor as soon as possible. Endometriosis can be mistaken for other conditions, such as ovarian cysts or pelvic inflammatory disease. An early and correct diagnosis may result in better treatment of your symptoms overall. 

What Are The Causes Of Endometriosis?

In addition to the endometriosis-genetic link, there are many potential causes for the disorder. It is possible to have more than one contributing factor. For example, a person may have both hereditary risks and menstrual conditions that increase their likelihood of developing endometriosis.

Understanding the cause of an individual’s condition is important because it informs the treatment plan. 

Surgery Complications

Endometrial cells can stick to scar tissue following surgery in rare situations (like a C-section or hysterectomy). After that, the cells might spread to other parts of the body.

Problems With The Immune System

Endometriosis has been associated with immunological diseases such as fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis. Further study is needed to clarify this link. However, this may be because endometriosis can induce inflammation, which triggers an immunological response.

Retrograde Menstruation

This is when the blood and tissues of menstruation move upstream. Endometrial tissue may be deposited in different parts of your abdomen and pelvis due to this procedure. According to a recent study, up to 90% of people who have periods will have retrograde menstruation, and however, the majority of these women will not develop endometriosis.

Cell Transport

Endometrial-like cells can migrate through the lymphatic system to other regions of your body. The Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdominal or pelvic walls are the most prevalent locations. For instance, endometriosis can typically affect the urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract, soft tissues, and chest.

Cell Transformation

Endometriosis can develop in any part of the body, and this might be due to intrinsic alterations in cells outside the uterus that transform them into endometrial-like cells.

If Endometriosis Runs In My Family, What Can I Do?

There is no scientific evidence that you can avoid endometriosis. However, we know that the condition is linked to the sex hormone estrogen. On the other hand, lowering your estrogen levels may help lessen your risk.

Lowering estrogen can be accomplished in a variety of methods, including the following:

  • Regular exercise
  • Cut down on your caffeine consumption
  • Limit yourself to one boozy beverage every day
  • Seek medical help after severe menstrual cramping
  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Reduce alcohol intake
  • Reduce exposure to synthetic xenoestrogens like those found in food pesticides and some plastic food containers

Speak with your physician before taking steps to lower your estrogen. A simple, non-invasive diagnostic test can confirm if you have a condition known as estrogen dominance. Too much estrogen could be a symptom of liver damage or medical issues other than endometriosis. 

Treatment Options 

The nature of your uterine ailment determines treatments for endometriosis. It can also be influenced by your age, the severity of your symptoms, the amount of endometrial tissue in your body, and if you wish to have a child in the future.

Here is a breakdown of the most common treatments.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy can inhibit ovulation by lowering estrogen levels. Endometriosis symptoms such as excessive bleeding and discomfort may be alleviated with this treatment. You have the option of taking the pill, getting injections, or using the nasal spray.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

NSAIDs can help you feel better for a while, but they won't fix your problem. If over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers don't work, talk to your doctor about getting an Rx pain reliever.


Your doctor may recommend surgical procedures if hormonal therapies don't work. The three most common endometriosis surgeries are:

1. Laparoscopy: A technique that takes only a few minor incisions and is minimally invasive. Your surgeon will remove endometriosis tissue from the damaged regions with heat, a knife, or a laser.

2. Laparotomy: This procedure may be used if endometriosis patches cannot be removed with laparoscopic surgery.

3. Hysterectomy: This is the procedure in which your entire uterus is removed. Your cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes may be removed as well.

Is Surgery Right for You?

Before deciding on surgery, it is advisable to get a second opinion and consider all options carefully. Surgery is not a cure for endometriosis. Consider the following:

  • Individual recovery times vary, but most people recover in 6 to 8 weeks
  • You will not be able to conceive following hysterectomy
  • Endometriosis may reappear after surgery. Within two years of surgery, symptoms recur in roughly 40% to 80% of people

All surgeries come with risks, but surgeries for endometriosis are considered safe overall. Surgery can reduce or eliminate pain and may help you get pregnant. The chances of having a recurrence depend on several factors, including the severity of your condition, which type of surgery you have, and how much of the endometrial tissue was removed. 

Bottom Line

Endometriosis is a chronic disorder in which endometrial tissues protrude from the uterus. Although there is presently no cure, several excellent therapies help alleviate your symptoms. Researchers are still attempting to figure out what causes this disorder.

Is endometriosis genetic? It would be overstating the facts to say endometriosis is caused by genetics, but current information suggests genes are at least a contributing factor. Environment, lifestyle choices, surgical complications, and other medical conditions may also play a role. 

The symptoms of endometriosis can be mild to debilitating. Severe pelvic pain is one of the most common symptoms, but pain in the legs, pain during intercourse, and rectal bleeding are also indications you may have endometriosis. Endometriosis can lead to infertility. However, treatments are available and effective. 

If you have symptoms but no family history of the disease, don't deny the possibility. The endometriosis-genetic link is not the only reason for concern. Anyone experiencing symptoms of endometriosis should see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

Disclaimer: The Content Provided Is For Educational Purposes. It Is Best To Contact Your Physician For Further Diagnosis And Treatment.

Tomohiro Takano
Tomohiro Takano
Co-Founder and CEO