Solarium increases risk of endometriosis | Yellow list

It is estimated that around one in ten women suffers from endometriosis – that is almost 190 million women worldwide. However, the number of unreported cases is probably significantly higher, as many women consider cycle-dependent pain to be normal.

Thus, endometriosis is not a rare disease, but very little is known about its etiology – above all, very little is known about avoidable risk factors.

Endometriosis and skin

However, a connection between the risk of endometriosis and the skin could be observed. Research into the long-term health consequences of endometriosis has shown that it is associated with a higher risk of cutaneous melanoma. In addition, several studies have found a higher risk of endometriosis in women with a sun-sensitive phenotype (fair-skinned, red-blonde).

Artificial or natural sun?

This evidence was reason enough for US researchers at the University of Arizona to investigate the possible connections between ultraviolet radiation and the risk of endometriosis, distinguishing between artificial and natural UV radiation.

The team around Dr. Leslie Farland (Tucson, Arizona, USA) using data from the Nurses’ Health Study II. In this well-known epidemiological project, the prospective cohort consists of 116,429 US nurses aged 25-42 years of age when they enrolled in 1989. The participants completed questionnaires every two years until June 2015.

Scientists examined the nurses’ reports of recreational sun exposure and geocoded residential UV exposure in childhood and adulthood in relation to the risk of laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis in premenopausal white women.

30% increased risk of endometriosis among sunbed users

Results: Among the 95,080 women included in the analyzes, there were 4,791 cases of endometriosis diagnosed by laparoscopy.

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After adjusting for confounding factors, the study found that compared to women who never went to the tanning bed, those who tanned more than six times a year in young adulthood had a 19 percent increased risk of endometriosis. When participants between the ages of 25 and 35 tanned more than three times a year, the risk of endometriosis was increased by 24 percent. If the solarium was used more than three times a year in both phases of life, the risk of developing endometriosis increased by a third compared to women who never use the tanning bed.

No risk from natural UV exposure

The study also showed that women who lived in regions with high UV exposure had a lower risk of developing endometriosis.

The scientists from Arizona suspect that the prevailing UVA radiation in the solariums is the cause of the increased endometriosis risk for tanning bed users. Increased UV exposure at home tends to reduce the risk of endometriosis, possibly through optimal vitamin D synthesis.


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