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Your Environment. Your Health.

BPA Linked with Endometriosis

Virginia L. Holt, Ph.D.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center
NIEHS Grant R03ES019976

An NIEHS grantee and colleagues report that higher urinary BPA levels are associated with increased risk of non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis. Endometriosis is an estrogen-driven, and often painful, condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows in other locations in the body.

Previous studies of BPA and endometriosis have shown inconsistent results and had various limitations, including small sample size. For the new study, the researchers used data from the Women's Risk of Endometriosis study, which is a population-based, case-control study of endometriosis conducted among females enrolled in a large health care system. They compared urinary BPA levels in 143 women with surgically confirmed endometriosis and 287 randomly selected study participants without endometriosis.

The investigators observed statistically significant positive associations between urinary BPA concentrations and non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis (second versus lowest quartile: OR 3.0; 95% CI: 1.2, 7.3; third versus lowest quartile: OR 3.0; 95% CI: 1.1, 7.6). There was no statistically significant association between total urinary BPA concentrations and endometriosis overall or with ovarian endometriosis. The researchers say that the association between urinary BPA concentration and non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis suggests that BPA may affect normal structural changes of hormonally responsive endometrial tissue during the menstrual cycle, promoting establishment and persistence of refluxed endometrial tissue in people with non-ovarian pelvic endometriosis.

Citation: Upson K, Sathyanarayana S, De Roos AJ, Koch HM, Scholes D, Holt VL. 2014. A population-based case-control study of urinary bisphenol A concentrations and risk of endometriosis. Hum Reprod; doi: 10.1093/humrep/deu227 [Online 9 September 2014].

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