BOSTON – Women who suffered severe acne while teenagers are at a higher risk of endometriosis.

A study published online in September’s edition of Nature is based on findings that severe teenage acne and symptoms such as irregular menstrual cycles or abdominal pain should be evaluated for endometriosis, according to lead author Dr. Jing Xie of Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Xie suggests the presence of severe acne in teenage girls can be an obvious indicator of things to come and can be used in improved screening and diagnosis of endometriosis.

Endometriosis impacts about 10 percent of women, but often is not diagnosed until symptoms have developed.

During investigation into the relationship between teenage acne and endometriosis, Dr. Xie and his team used data from the Nurses Health Study II, which included 88,623 women between 1989 and 2009. During follow-up examinations, more than 4,000 new endometriosis cases were confirmed. Of that group that reported severe teenage acne, 7.9 percent were determined to have a 20 percent higher chance of developing the disease.

Researches concluded that while endometriosis may have a genetic mechanism, changes in sex hormones or immune malfunction could also play a role.

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