Endometriosis and dioxins

Farfaras A1, Koliopanos A2, Sindos M3, Margaris E2

1Department of Gynecology, Gennimatas general hospital, Athens, Greece
23rd Department of Surgery, Gennimatas general hospital, Athens, Greece
31st Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Athens, Alexandra hospital, Athens, Greece

Correspondence: Farfaras A, 32 Agias Barbaras St, GR-17563, Palaio Faliro, Athens, Greece. E-mail: farfaras@gmail.com


Endometriosis is a chronic benign gynecological disease, primary affecting women of reproductive age and characterized by the growth of endometrial cells in ectopic locations. Despite the widespread occurrence of the disorder, little is known of its etiology. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain its origin. Retrograde menstruation of endometrial cells into the peritoneum is one of the most widely accepted theories, however, this phenomenon occurs in approximately 90% of women while the prevalence of endometriosis is much lower. Hence, other factors are thought to contribute to the development of this disease, including exposure to environmental toxicants. Dioxins are persistent organic pollutants widely distributed in the food chain, which is the main source of human exposure. Their effects on human health at background exposure levels are still poorly understood, however, there are consistent results reporting the association between exposure to background levels of dioxins and defective neurodevelopment of infants, increased risk of diabetes, altered thyroid function and adverse affects in human reproduction. In the present article, we review available data connecting dioxins and endometriosis.

Keywords: endometriosis, dioxins, environmental toxicants

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