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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the causes of endometriosis?

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  • Jean Hailes for Women’s Health is a leader in women’s health, supported by funding from the Australian Government. We provide trusted and easy-to-understand information to … View Profile

    The causes of endometriosis are not fully understood and there may be many reasons why it occurs. Potential causes include genetics, especially if there are other family members with the condition, problems with the immune system and possibly environmental toxins (yet to be proven). Retrograde menstruation is considered the main source of endometrial cells reaching the pelvis and pelvic organs.

    Retrograde menstruation is when lining cells from the uterus, which are normally shed during the period, flow back along the uterine (Fallopian) tubes into the pelvis where they become implanted and begin to grow.

    This theory could explain why implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, or near the end on the uterine (Fallopian) tubes. However, it does not explain cases where endometrial cells are found outside the pelvic cavity.

  • Dr Elizabeth Farrell AM is a consultant gynaecologist and was one of the driving forces that established the Jean Hailes Foundation. Dr Farrell is recognised … View Profile

    We don’t know what causes endometriosis but endometrial cells in women with endometriosis behave differently than in women without endometriosis. In endometriosis the cells continue to grow if they flow into the abdomen when a woman has a period. It is thought that there are genetic and environmental factors involved in endometriosis.

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