Women With Endometriosis More Attractive, Study Finds

By Amir Khan on September 30, 2012 9:10 PM EDT

Woman
Ask someone to describe what they find beautiful in a woman, and endometriosis will probably be very low on the list. But according to a new study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, women with the condition are judged to be more attractive -- and the more severe the condition, the more attractive they're judged to be. (Photo: Creative Commons)

Ask someone to describe what they find beautiful in a woman, and endometriosis will probably be very low on the list. But according to a new study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, women with the condition are judged to be more attractive -- and the more severe the condition, the more attractive they're judged to be.

Endometriosis is a condition where cells that are normally only found in the uterus' lining grow on other areas of the pelvis, such as the ovaries, bladder or anus. When they grow in those areas, they react to changes in the hormone estrogen in the same way they do in the uterus -- such as growing thicker during a woman's menstrual cycle, which causes bleeding and pain. However, it also has another effect -- it makes the women more attractive.

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Researchers met with 300 women, a third of whom had a severe form of the condition, a third of whom had a moderate form, and a third who did not have the condition at all. Two male and two female doctors met with each woman for five minutes, not knowing which group they belonged to, before judging their attractiveness.  

While the method may not be the most scientifically valid method, the results are interesting. Researchers found that 31 percent of the women with the severe form of endometriosis were judged to be attractive by the team, while only 8 and 9 percent of the other groups were.  They also found that women with the severe form were more likely to have sex before the age of 18.

While it's not clear why the women were judged to be more attractive, researchers said that estrogen likely plays a role. Previous studies have shown women with high levels of the hormone to be more attractive, and higher levels of the hormone may also be linked to endometriosis.

The abstract of the study can be seen here.

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