Credit: © LoloStock / Fotolia

Credit: © LoloStock / Fotolia

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing endometriosis

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing endometriosis, according to the latest research from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

According to MedlinePlus:

Endometriosis is a disease in which the kind of tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside the uterus. It can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, or bladder. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body.

Symptoms include pain, usually in the abdomen, lower back, or pelvic areas, infertility, heavy periods and bleeding between periods and painful menstrual cramps.

We found that women who breastfed for a greater duration were less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis,” said corresponding author Leslie Farland, ScM, ScD, a research scientist at the Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery at BWH. “Given the chronic nature of endometriosis and that very few modifiable risk factors are currently known, breastfeeding may be an important modifiable behavior to reduce the risk of endometriosis among women after pregnancy.”

The research team studied over 3,000 women. They found that for every three months mothers breastfed, the risk of endrometriosis dropped 8 percent.

The authors concluded:

Among women who experienced at least one pregnancy that lasted at least six months, breast feeding was inversely associated with risk of incident endometriosis. This association was partially, but not fully, influenced by postpartum amenorrhea, suggesting that breast feeding could influence the risk of endometriosis both through amenorrhea and other mechanisms. Given the chronic and incurable nature of endometriosis, breast feeding should be further investigated as an important modifiable behavior to mitigate risk for pregnant women.

The study showing that breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing endometriosis was published in The BMJ. 

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REFERENCES:
1. “Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Endometriosis Diagnosis.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 30 Aug. 2017, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/08/170830155500.htm.
2. “History of Breast Feeding and Risk of Incident Endometriosis: Prospective Cohort Study.” BMJ, British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 29 Aug. 2017, http://www.bmj.com/content/358/bmj.j3778.
3. “Endometriosis .” MedlinePlus , U.S. National Library of Medicine, medlineplus.gov/endometriosis.html.

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