Consuming alcohol can cause endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disease that occurs when cells from the uterine lining grow in other areas like in the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, intestines, rectum or bladder. This can cause pain, bleeding, bleeding in between periods, and infertility. It may star when a women starts having her period, though it is commonly diagnosed around 25 to 35 years old. A women is more vulnerable to have endometriosis if:
- They have a mother or a sister with this disease.
- Started menstruation at an early age.
- Does not have children.
- Have frequent menstrual periods during 7 or more days.
- Having a closed hymen preventing the flow of menstrual blood during her period.
Pain is the first symptom but painful periods, abdominal pain before and after menstruation, cramps for one or two weeks and during period, and pain during sex can also be present at any moment.
It is unknown what causes endometriosis. Researchers speculate that the immune system in women plays a role in causing the development of this disease. It is suggested that genetic profile, inflammation, hormonal activity, menstrual cycles, organochlorides, and prostaglandin also play a role. Other risk factors are sun pigmentation, alcohol intake, the use of oral contraceptives, and environmental factors like polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins.
Socioeconomic status is also associated with many factors mentioned previously. That and education are indicator of a lifestyle and habits that associate with a higher risk of endometriosis. A study showed that women working rotary night shifts during 5 or more years have a moderately high risk of endometriosis if they are infertile at the same time.
Alcohol can also interact with hypophysis hormone production, resulting in a higher release of estradiol in the ovaries. Various studies have analyzed the association of alcohol intake and the risk of endometriosis. A recent meta-analysis showed the relation stating that alcohol consumption associates with this disease. The estimated increase of risk of regular alcohol consumption was of 1.2 (CI 95%). Additionally, this analysis found the dependent decrease of alcohol dosage on this disease risk, because drinkers frequently showed less risk.
This disease is also related with other pathological conditions, like gastrointestinal disease, immunologic diseases, and cardiovascular disease. Endometriosis is a phenomenon of multiple stages, different risk factors can act in a certain way in every individual. It is important to detect the signs and immediately go to a specialist.
Reviewers: Brenda Giselle Álvarez Rodríguez (Public Health Research Unit), and Cassandra Saldaña Pineda (Knowledge Management Unit).
- Article: “Epidemiology of endometriosis and its comorbidities”. European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 209 (2017) 3–7