Environmental factors and endometriosis

Rev Assoc Med Bras (1992). Jul-Aug 2011;57(4):448-52. doi: 10.1590/s0104-42302011000400022.


Endometriosis represents a common gynecological condition affecting 5%-15% of childbearing age women and up to 3% 5% of post-menopausal women. This disease is defined by the presence of stromal and/or endometrial glandular epithelium implants in extra-uterine locations possibly compromising several sites. Humans and animals are daily exposed to chemical pollutants that could adversely influence physiological processes and potentially cause diseases, including endometriosis. In this review, the authors aimed at settling the influence of environmental and dietary factors on endometriosis pathogenesis. The mechanism by which dioxin and its similes (TCDD/PCBs) act changing the endometrial physiology remains uncertain and is speculative due to the difficulty in assessing the exposure over intrauterine life, childhood and adulthood and its actual consequences, in addition to the limitations to its in vitro reproducibility. We need to better understand the mechanism of action of these environmental pollutants, not only on reproductive health, but also on overall health of individuals and so prevention strategies, including not only population education, but setting exposure limits, less polluting techniques and a better use of our natural resources, could be promoted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Dioxins / toxicity
  • Endometriosis / etiology*
  • Environment*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors


  • Dioxins
  • Environmental Pollutants