Endometriosis is a painful disorder where the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus, affecting the ovaries and other pelvic organs.
Common symptoms include heavy periods, painful intercourse, and infertility.
One of the biggest problems with endometriosis is that it is difficult to diagnose. In fact, a surgeon needs to perform a laparoscopy to be 100% sure of an endometriosis diagnosis.
Treatment is not simple either. Pain medication, hormonal treatment, surgery, and even full hysterectomy don’t guarantee the full removal of endometriosis.
So, what is there to do?
There’s no cure for endometriosis, but it can be managed with comprehensive care. This usually involves living a healthy lifestyle and taking steps to managing the pain.
A healthy lifestyle starts with diet. Knowing how different foods may affect your endometriosis can help you decide what to eat and what to avoid.
Endometriosis causes pain by causing inflammation. A diet rich in minerals, full of nutrients, and containing plenty of vitamins can help you manage pain and live your best life.
What to eat
Eat foods rich in fibre. Foods like fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains can help your body flush out excess estrogen, which can be inflammatory and make your symptoms worse. They’re also great for your gut health.
Enjoy an iron-rich diet, dark leafy greens, such as spinach, broccoli, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds. This helps your body replace the iron you normally lose through menstruation.
Don’t miss out on the fatty acids either… salmon, sardines, trout, and walnuts. Studies have shown that these can reduce endometriosis pain and inflammation. They may also help your body produce prostaglandins, which can relieve pelvic pain.
And finally, mix it up with foods that are rich in antioxidants. This includes oranges, berries, beets, and even dark chocolate. Studies have shown that antioxidants can help reduce endometriosis pain and may even help reduce the size of endometrial cysts.
Other healthy eating tips for endometriosis include:
- Increase omega-3 fats
- Avoid trans fats
- Cut down on red meat
- Limit caffeine and alcohol
- Steer clear of processed foods
- Follow a gluten free diet
- Eat soy
- Drink water
What to avoid
- Trans fats (found in processed foods)
- Palmitic acid (found in red meat)
- High GI foods
- Caffeine and alcohol
- Dairy (cow’s milk)
Supplement your diet
There are many studies that investigate the benefits of minerals and vitamins on the effects of endometriosis. Vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as zinc, magnesium, and calcium can all help.
It may also be worth trying the following supplements:
- Curcumin (turmeric)
- NAC – N-acetyl cysteine amino acid
It is advised to speak to your health professional before you take regular supplements of any kind.