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Will Your Daughter Have Endometriosis Too?

No one knows exactly what causes endometriosis. But whether it’s environmental factors, retrograde menstruation, or endometrial tissue present at birth, there is familial link with the disease.1 Researchers are still figuring out just how strong the association is, but current estimates say genes account for up to 50 percent of why someone might get endo.2

Studies show that first-degree relatives — siblings, children, parents — are 5-10 percent more likely than the general population to get the condition confirmed through surgery.1,3 And in one small study, the disease showed up in three generations of mothers and daughters.4

Here are some other familial facts:  

  • Endometriosis is more likely to show up in both twins when they are identical rather than fraternal.3
  • In women who have had endometriosis laparoscopically removed, recurrence is higher in those with a family history of the disease.5
  • There are at least 142 menstruating animals who can get endometriosis, and there is a family relationship documented in monkeys.6

You may not share your daughter’s symptoms 

If you have endo, there’s a chance your child will to. However, she might not experience it the same way. My mother had lesions all over one of her fallopian tubes, but she never had cramps. She breezed through her menstrual cycle and was only diagnosed after she had a hard time getting pregnant. My periods were incapacitating from the start. When I was searching for answers in my teens and 20s, she never mentioned her endo. She had no idea the condition caused pain.

Should you see a doctor?

Your daughter’s gynecologist should be aware of your endo, especially if your child talks about having typical symptoms like pelvic pain and debilitating periods. But if your daughter hasn’t reached puberty yet, bring it up with your own doctor. There isn’t any way to prevent endometriosis, yet, but your OBGYN might have advice on signs you should look out for. But most of all, offer your daughter support and guidance. Even if you can’t stop her endometriosis, you can be her advocate.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Vassilopoulou L, et al. Defining the genetic profile of endometriosis. Exp Ther Med. 2019;17(5):3267-3281. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6447774/#b8-etm-0-0-7346. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  2. Matalliotaki C, et al. Role of FN1 and GREB1 gene polymorphisms in endometriosis. Mol Med Rep. May 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31115525. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  3. Hansen K, Eyster K. Genetics and Genomics of Endometriosis. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2010;53(2):403-412. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4346178/. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  4. Matalliotakis M, et al. Genetic association study in a three-generation family with seven members with endometriosis. Molecular Medicine Reports. August 2017:6077-6080. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/mmr/16/5/6077. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  5. Campo S, Campo V, Gambadauro P. Is a positive family history of endometriosis a risk factor for endometrioma recurrence after laparoscopic surgery? Reprod Sci. 2014;21(4):526-531. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24026309. Accessed June 6, 2019.
  6. Zondervan K, et al. Familial aggregation of endometriosis in a large pedigree of rhesus macaques. Hum Reprod. 2004;19(2):448-455. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14747196. Accessed June 6, 2019.

Comments

  • Anewday76
    3 months ago

    Ms. Wiginton,
    I enjoyed reading this article. I’d like to add about how I found where in my family history I got endometriosis.
    My mom never had any problems with her cycles. Nor any other women on my mom’s side. It wasn’t until my dad’s mother passed, he visited his brother, and heard that 2 or 3 of my cousins have endometriosis. I got the gene from my dad! How was this possible? Everything I heard about was it’s passed mother to daughter. After sharing this on a supoot group which has endo specialists who comment on. One said they’re researching genetic markers and realizing that it’s not what they believed. They are now finding endo implants in fetuses before the sex begins to develop.
    I just thought I’d share this with you.

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