A new study has found that women with freckles, moles and easily-burned skin are at a greater risk of developing endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common medical condition characterized by growth beyond or outside the uterus of endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus.
Researchers from France and Australia found that the painful fertility-related condition may be genetically-linked to malignant melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer.
The study of 100,000 older French women suggested a similarity between some risk factors for both conditions.
For the study, the research team examined the lifestyle and medical history of the women.
They found that about 4000 of them had endometriosis, a disease where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus is found in abnormal parts of the body like the abdominal cavity.
"We have demonstrated that women with a higher number of moles or freckles, or a greater susceptibility to sunburn, have a higher risk of endometriosis," News.com.au quoted lead researcher Marina Kvaskoff, as saying.
However, she added that skin or hair colour had no bearing on risk.
"There seem to be some common genetic links between melanoma and endometriosis, but this needs to be further investigated," she said.
Endometriosis affects six per cent of women and occurs in some girls when they first start to menstruate.
There is no known cause or cure for the disease, but it can be managed through surgery, pain medication or hormone treatment.
The study was presented at the World Congress of Endometriosis in Melbourne.