Breastfeeding and endometriosis


One in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer from endometriosis. The cause of endometriosis is unknown and there is no definite cure. Endometriosis can cause symptoms, such as chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea and dyspareunia. A recent prospective cohort study, called the Nurses’ Health Study II that began in 1989, when 116,430 registered nurses aged 25–42 returned a mailed questionnaire on their health and lifestyle. Breastfeeding (any and exclusive breastfeeding) is associated with a lower risk of endometriosis. Women who did not breast feed were at a significantly increased risk of endometriosis compared with women who breastfed for up to 1 year. Current UK policy is to promote exclusive breastfeeding (feeding only breast milk) for the first 6 months. Thereafter, it recommends that breastfeeding should continue for as long as the mother and baby wish, while gradually introducing a more varied diet.

Farland, L. V., Eliassen, H., Tamimi, R., Spiegelman, D., Michels, K., & Missmer, S. (2017). History of breast feeding and risk of incident endometriosis: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 358, j3778. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j3778

Conclusion: Breastfeeding can have benefits for mums! Women who suffer from endometriosis are associated with a lower risk if they breastfeed for up to 1 year.
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