Endometriosis occurs when tissue resembling uterus grows outside the uterus, causing severe pains. This tissue can equally develop on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or intestines. It can also grow on other parts of the body.
Sometimes, this does not cause any symptoms at all, but other times, it can cause severe pain and discomfort during monthly menstruation. Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
- bleeding between periods
- pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or back
- severe menstrual cramps
- heavy periods
Avoiding foods and drinks that cause inflammation and increase estrogen production may help to attack the painful symptoms of endometriosis.
Connection between Endometriosis and Diet
Research has been conducted checking the link between diet and endometriosis symptoms. For some people, eating certain foods tends to prompt or relieve their symptoms.
A research carried out in 2013 suggested that women who ate more vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids were more protected from symptoms of endometriosis, while those who consumed red meat, trans fats, and coffee may have experienced painful effect.
READ ALSO: Endometriosis: Can it Cause Leg Pain?
A 2015 literature review published in Brazil, suggested that eating a healthful diet can prevent endometriosis from developing or deteriorating. Foods in this diet included:
Endometriosis cannot be prevented, but people can reduce their risk of developing it by avoiding foods and chemicals that boost their estrogen levels. These substances include caffeine and alcohol.
It is vital to recognize that dietary and lifestyle changes will not cure endometriosis but may help to improve its symptoms.
Diet for endometriosis
For endometriosis, foods that cause inflammation or raise estrogen levels should be avoided. A person with endometriosis should eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, plant-based proteins, lean meats, and healthful fats.
Healthful fats include avocado, nuts, olive oil, salmon, fatty fish. A person with endometriosis should also reduce their caffeine and alcohol intake, as these can increase estrogen levels. In place of fish, omega-3 fatty acids can also be introduced into the diet using supplements.
READ ALSO: Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
A person can also increase their fiber intake. Fiber is an essential part of a healthful diet and may help to lower estrogen levels. In addition to providing lots of vitamins and minerals, eating fresh sources of fiber can also provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation. There are also some special diets that may help people with endometriosis. These include:
Going gluten-free has become a common diet and lifestyle trend over the last several years. A study performed in 2012 suggested that 75 percent of the 156 women who took part in the study reported a decrease in painful symptoms after following a gluten-free diet for about a year.
This diet involves a person eliminating certain carbohydrate from their diet to reduce their consumption of potentially irritating foods. The aim is to allow the gastrointestinal system to heal.
After a person eliminates these foods, they can slowly re-introduce specific foods to see how the body tolerates them. This kind of diet can be difficult for some people, because it involves removing a high number of food types from their diet, including:
- processed foods
- added sugars
A dietitian can help a person plan the FODMAP diet elimination program. They can help to track symptoms and identify potentially sticky foods. They can also ensure that this type of a preventive diet is appropriate for a specific medical situation.
READ ALSO: 6 Benefits of Magnesium for PCOS
Preparation is vital for success with this type of diet. Planning out each meal, as well as shopping and preparing it ahead of time, can make it much easier to stay on track. A quick Internet search can help a person to quickly and easily find some new meal ideas that work for them.
Home Remedies for Endometriosis
In addition to dietary changes and traditional medical treatments for endometriosis, some women try other home remedies to help manage the symptoms. Therapies can include:
- vitamin B1
- regular exercise
- chiropractic care
- Chinese herbs, such as cinnamon twig or licorice root
Make sure you consult your doctor before starting to take any herbal or over-the-counter supplements.