MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leslie V. Farland, ScD
Assistant Director of Epidemiologic Research
Center for Infertility and Reproductive Surgery
Brigham and Women’s Hospital | Harvard Medical School
Instructor | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Endometriosis is chronic gynecologic condition that affects approximately ten percent of women. Women with endometriosis can experience painful menstrual periods, general chronic pelvic pain, and pain associated with intercourse. Currently we know very few modifiable risk factors for endometriosis.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: We found that women who breastfed for a greater duration were less likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis. Specifically, we found that for every three additional months that mothers breastfed per pregnancy, women experienced an 8 percent reduction in risk of endometriosis. This reduction was even higher for mothers who exclusively breastfed: risk of endometriosis was reduced 14 percent for every three additional months of exclusive breastfeeding per pregnancy. Women who breastfed exclusively for 18 months or more across their reproductive lifetime had a nearly 30 percent lower risk of being diagnosed with endometriosis.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Our findings lend support to the body of public health and policy literature that advocates for the promotion of breastfeeding. Given the chronic nature of endometriosis and that very few modifiable risk factors are currently known, breastfeeding may be an important modifiable behavior to reduce the risk of endometriosis among women after pregnancy.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We hope that future research will investigate whether breastfeeding could help lessen the symptoms of endometriosis among women who have already been diagnosed.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Farland Leslie V, Eliassen A Heather, Tamimi Rulla M, Spiegelman Donna, Michels Karin B, MissmerStacey A et al. History of breast feeding and risk of incident endometriosis: prospective cohort studyBMJ 2017; 358 :j3778
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.