Sydney, May 3: Researchers have discovered an association between sexual activity and a disease that results in women's painful periods, pelvic pain and difficulty in conceiving.
The study found a link between contact with seminal fluid and the development of endometriosis, affects about 10 percent women in the reproductive age.
"In laboratory studies, our research found that seminal fluid (a major component of semen) enhances the survival and growth of endometriosis lesions," said co-lead author Jonathan McGuane from the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Endometriosis -- a condition when tissue that normally grows inside a women's uterus grows outside the uterus -- affects one in ten reproductive-aged women.
The condition's symptoms vary but include painful periods, pelvic pain, and women with endometriosis may have difficulty conceiving, associate professor Louise Hull from the University of Adelaide, pointed out.
"This is an important finding and raises the possibility that exposure of the endometrium (the inner lining of the uterus) to seminal fluid may contribute to the progression of the disease in women," she noted.
The researchers said more study is needed to uncover what this means for the relationship between endometriosis and sexual activity.
"We now need to apply these laboratory findings to real life and determine whether the exposure of seminal fluid that occurs naturally during intercourse puts women at increased risk of developing endometriosis. And if modifications to sexual activity could lower the severity of the disease in women with endometriosis," Hull said.
The research was published in the American Journal of Pathology.