Endometriosis is a medical condition in which lining of the uterus (endometrium) starts to grow in other places such as ovaries, fallopian tubes or with the pelvis. The problem starts when the lining breaks down and as a result woman has to face severe cramps, heavy periods, and other major fertility problem.
According to a new study, it is thought that there are fewer chances of endometriosis developing in women who breastfeed their babies and the chances reduce even further if women nurse their babies for long enough.
Dr. Leslie V. Farland from Harvard Medical School in the US emphasised on it by saying that if women want to reduce the risks of having endometriosis, the most adaptable way for them is through breastfeeding.
Currently, around 10% women have endometriosis and unfortunately it currently has no cure. There is however conservative measures to control the discomfort and ease symptoms such as hormone therapy, pain medication, and even surgery to remove all the misplaced uterine tissues.
Some researchers have theorised that that because the process of menstruation causes endometriosis, when this stops, so will the symptoms. The process of menstruation stops when women start nursing their babies, therefore it means that breastfeeding has a protective effect. Women who exclusively breastfeed their babies regularly will usually experience amenorrhea (absence of periods)
A study was conducted by Dr. Farland and her team, they observed 72,394 women who were pregnant for at least 6 months, and one of the prominent things to notice was that none of the women had endometriosis. In the follow-up, it was observed that women diagnosed with endometriosis were 3,296. It was observed that there were 40% fewer chances for women to have endometriosis who had been breastfeeding.
One thing which is noticeable is that each case of pregnancy, women who had been breastfeeding their babies had 8% lower risk of having endometriosis. Another important finding was that women who had stopped menstruating (after giving birth) for 6-12 months were 42% less likely to have the problem of endometriosis development than those who did not miss a period.
According to Dr. Farland, few menstrual periods are not the only thing that happens as a result of breastfeeding. There are other changes that happen such as lower estrogen levels and higher oxytocin levels. She did say that their results were not generalized for women who experienced endometriosis prior to pregnancy.
Therefore, it can be said that breastfeeding can actually play a role in preventing endometriosis in women. It is best that further researches are made to create awareness about the issue.