176 million women worldwide and 5 million American women suffer from endometriosis. Because endometriosis can take almost 10 years to diagnose, it is most often diagnosed between the age of 25-40. However, teenagers and adult women of any age can have endometriosis. Every woman has some endometriosis in their body, but most don’t have enough to cause serious symptoms that would make them go to the doctors.
Are you at risk for endometriosis? Find out what factors boost the chance you have or will have endometriosis:
If your mom or sister had endometriosis, it boosts your chance of having endometriosis by 50%. If you have painful periods and you have a family history of endometriosis, tell your doctor immediately.
Pregnancy makes the symptoms of endometriosis go into remission. Not having children increases the risk of having endometriosis, but the disease can occur even if you have children.
Having heavy periods, long periods, and periods that occur more frequently increases your risk of having endometriosis. Many women with endometriosis started menstruating at a younger than average age.
Eating a typical American diet with fast food, soda, fries, candy, and junk food puts you at risk for endometriosis. Dairy, red meat, trans fats, caffeine, and alcohol have been linked to endometriosis symptoms in several research studies. Eating fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and walnuts in linked to reducing inflammation, pain, and endometriosis.
Toxic chemicals found in cleaning solutions, makeup, and even your water can increase estrogen in your body and thus the growth of endometriosis. Using eco-friendly or “green” cleaning solutions and makeup and water filters can reduce your risk of endometriosis or severity of symptoms if you have it.
Lack of Exercise
A sedentary lifestyle may increase your risk of endometriosis and promote an unhealthy diet. Weight gain can lead to excess estrogen production, which can increase severity of endometriosis symptoms. Toxins that contribute to endometriosis also get stored in our fat cells. Get moving at least 20 minutes 5 times a week to keep your heart healthy, burn fat, manage stress, and sweat out toxins.
Stress can increase secretion of the hormone cortisol, which causes numerous harmful reactions in your body including headaches, increased estrogen production, and poor liver function. This leads to less harmful toxins being removed from your body and more endometriosis. Reduce stress by exercising more often, adding yoga or meditation, eating healthy meals, and getting good sleep.
Bad Sleep Habits
Not getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night can lead your body to produce the stress hormone cortisol. When your body it not running at its best, it won’t be able to flush out toxins, you won’t have energy to exercise, you won’t feel like making healthy meals, and you’ll be stressed out. All of these things add up to more endometriosis pain.
Endometriosis is more likely if you have a history of pelvic infection like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), abnormalities in your uterus, or any conndition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body.