“Endometriosis heredity is an area of research we are particularly focused on right now,” says Dr. Krina Zondervan, a professor of reproductive and genomic epidemiology.
She says there is a hereditary component to endometriosis, but it is not as simple as if a mother has endometriosis, then her daughter will get it as well.
“Endometriosis is something we call a “complex disease.” That means there are lots of different genetic factors involved, and there are lots of non-genetic factors involved as well. It is a combination of those risk factors that probably determines your risk profile.”
Dr. Zondervan says that if someone is diagnosed with endometriosis, the chance of their child also being diagnosed with it eventually is probably two to three times higher than what’s called the population risk. If the population risk is about five percent, then their risk would be perhaps 10 percent.
“So it is certainly not a given by any means. But often, after receiving an endometriosis diagnosis, understandably and rightly, parents are probably more vigilant looking out for symptoms in their children, and that is probably a good thing.”