Perinatal environment and endometriosis

Edgardo Somigliana, Paola Vigano, Annalisa Abbiati, Alessio Paffoni, Laura Benaglia, Paolo Vercellini, Luigi Fedele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Aims: Perinatal environmental exposure may affect fetal development and reprogram the developing organism for adult-onset disease. In this case-control study, we aimed at assessing this pathogenetic model in endometriosis. Methods: Consecutive patients with a first laparoscopic diagnosis of endometriosis were selected as cases. Controls were women who underwent laparoscopy during the same study period, but who were found to be free of the disease. Selected women and their mothers were interviewed. Results: Ninety-one women with endometriosis and 82 controls were selected. Handedness, a variable believed to be determined prenatally by hormonal environment in utero significantly differed between the study groups. Women with the disease were less likely to be left- or mixed-handed (adjusted OR: 0.24, 95% CI: 0.08-0.71). In contrast, we failed to detect any association with birth order, maternal age, smoking, nausea, weight gain, prematurity, birth weight and breast-feeding. Conclusions: Our results generally do not support the view that in utero exposure may play a major role in the pathogenesis of endometriosis. The association with handedness, however, is intriguing in this regard and deserves further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalGynecologic and Obstetric Investigation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011


  • Case-control study
  • Endometriosis
  • Handedness
  • Perinatal phase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


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