Endometriosis often begins in the teen years and develops slowly over the course of a woman’s life. Its causes are not fully understood, and genetic factors are believed to play a primary role in its occurrence. There is little evidence that endometriosis can be prevented; however, some lifestyle changes may help lower your risk.
Recent studies suggest that regular exercise may decrease your risk of endometriosis. One study found that women who exercise regularly, started exercising before age 15, and exercise more than seven hours a week, are at lower risk for the disease.
For more information on starting a regular exercise program,
Women who drink large amounts of alcohol or beverages with caffeine appear to have an increased risk for endometriosis. This may be due to the fact that both of these substances increase estrogen levels in the body.
For more information on decreasing your caffeine intake,
Long term-use of oral contraceptives may decrease your risk of endometriosis. This is probably because they regulate menses and typically reduce the amount of bleeding during menstruation.
The use of oral contraceptives to reduce the risk of endometriosis is a decision that should be made with the advice of your healthcare provider. If, however, oral contraceptives are being considered as an option for birth control, this additional benefit may be helpful in making a decision.
Gabbe, SG et al.
Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 5th ed. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2007.
Katz VL et al.
Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2007.
Kistner’s Gynecology and Women’s Health. 7th ed. Mosby-Year Book; 1999.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development website. Available at:
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/. Accessed March 1, 2006.