How Does Endometriosis Develop: Retrograde Menstruation Theory

Medsblog. About Health and Medicine

May 8, 2009

Sampson’s theory of retrograde menstruation is by far the most popular theory of the development of endometriosis and it probably explains the vast majority of cases. According to this theory endometriosis develops when menstrual fluid from the uterus flows backwards through the fallopian tubes and out into die pelvic cavity during the menstrual period. This process of backward flow is known as retrograde menstruation which is a normal process that occurs in the majority of women. When the menstrual fluid flows out of the ends of the fallopian tubes it is deposited onto the surrounding organs and tissues. The menstrual fluid contains blood and fragments of endometrium. Some of these fragments of endometrium are still living and they implant themselves on the surface of the tissue and begin to grow and function. These patches of implanted endometrium are known as endometrial implants, deposits or cysts. Although it is known that most women have retrograde menstruation, it is not known why only a small percentage actually develop endometriosis.

Comment from Leslie

Retrograde Menstruation – Interesting concept. Feminists have called endometriosis – an uptight uterus. Same difference.  When a woman does not allow her body to slow down so that the uterine lining can be released the discharge will flow back into the pelvic cavity and not through the cervix.

Learning how to live with your hormone cycle is crucial.  Charting your cycle is a great tool – listing your physical, mental and emotional symptoms.  Your can learn more about this on Female Mystique – or in my book – “Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle.”


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.