The risk of women developing endometriosis is increased by about 30 percent by just three sessions per year on a tanning bed, a study warns.
American experts found that the risk of the painful condition also increases the more women burned from the sun or used sunscreen during their teens and young adulthood.
However, the team also found that women who live in areas with high levels of UV light, such as in the southern US, are less likely to be diagnosed with the condition.
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Celebrities like singer Dolly Parton and journalist Emma Barnett have spoken out before about their experiences with the condition.
The risk of women developing endometriosis is increased by about 30 percent by just three sessions per year on a tanning bed (photo), a study warns.
“Previous research on the long-term health consequences of endometriosis has suggested that women with endometriosis are at greater risk for melanoma,” said author and epidemiologist Leslie Farland of the University of Arizona.
“The exact mechanisms underlying the link between endometriosis and melanoma are not known.”
She added, “Several studies have found a greater risk of endometriosis in women who are sensitive to sunlight, do not tan easily, and who have red hair, light eyes, freckles, or a large number of moles.”
“These associations may reflect a common genetic background between endometriosis and melanoma or an underlying association between sun exposure and endometriosis risk.”
In their study, Professor Farland and colleagues studied 116,429 women who participated in the US Nurses’ Health Study II in 1989, when they were between the ages of 25 and 42.
Until June 2015, every woman provided updated information about their medical history and their exposure to risk factors for various chronic diseases every two years.
They were also asked how easily they burned, the number of moles on their legs, and the number of severe sunburns they had between the ages of 15 and 20.
In 1993, the participants also provided information about their use of sunscreen, and in 2005, they were asked about their use of tanning beds during their teens and early adult years, and between the ages of 25-35.
The women were also asked if they had been diagnosed with endometriosis, which is referred to as commons or by laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure to analyze the organs of the abdomen.
Based on the data from the women’s home addresses, the researchers were able to estimate each participant’s annual exposure to ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B.
‘Several studies have found a greater risk of endometriosis in women who are sensitive to sunlight, do not tan easily and have red hair, light eyes, freckles or a large number of moles,’ noted the author and epidemiologist of the university newspaper Leslie Farland. on. from Arizona
In their study, the researchers focused exclusively on white women, because of the known racial and ethnic differences in endometriosis diagnosis and differences in the influence of UVA and UVB light on different races.
Of this cohort of 95,080 women, 4,791 cases of endometriosis were diagnosed during the data collection period.
The team found that – compared to women who never used tanning beds – those who participated six or more times a year when they were teens and young adults had a 19 percent increased risk of endometriosis.
In addition, those who reported using them six or more times a year between the ages of 25-35 were found to have a 24 percent increased risk of the condition.
And those who used tanning beds three or more times a year in both periods had a 30 percent higher risk of developing the painful condition.
About five in 100 women could develop endometriosis during the average follow-up period – of nearly 14 years per person – if they had never used tanning beds as teens, young adults, or between the ages of 25 and 35, the team said.
However, they warned that nearly seven in 100 women would develop the condition if they used tanning beds more than three times a year.
A history of five or more severe sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 was associated with a 12 percent increase in the risk of endometriosis, compared to women who never got sunburnt.
Meanwhile, those who used sunscreen all the time had a 10 percent higher risk of endometriosis compared to those who never applied it.
Women who lived in the sunniest parts of the country at birth, aged 15 and 30, were 19, 21, and 10 percent less likely to develop endometriosis, respectively, compared to women living in parts of the US with the least annual sunshine.
“Our findings suggest that avoiding excessive recreational exposure to the sun and tanning beds may reduce your risk of endometriosis,” said paper author and epidemiologist Stacey Missmer of Michigan State University.
The researchers cautioned that the mechanisms between sun exposure and tanning beds and endometriosis risk are unclear.
In addition, the observational nature of the study means that it cannot demonstrate that these exposures certainly caused the increased risk of endometriosis.
The full findings of the study have been published in the journal Human reproduction.
WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Endometriosis occurs when cells in the uterine lining are found elsewhere in the body.
Each month these cells react in the same way as those in the womb; build up, break down and bleed. Yet the blood has no way of escaping from the body.
Symptoms include pain, heavy periods and fatigue, as well as a higher risk of infertility and bowel and bladder problems.
The cause is unknown, but it could be genetic, related to problems with the immune system or exposure to chemicals.
Treatment is aimed at relieving pain and improving quality of life, which may include surgery or hormone treatment.
Source: Endometriosis UK
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