A strong cocktail after a long day—or an “adult juice box” on a Saturday afternoon?
Are these allowed if you have endometriosis? Or will they cause a flare-up?
Can you enjoy a drink with friends every once in a while?
We’re here to help you answer those questions and more.
In this guide, we’ll talk about:
- How alcohol affects endometriosis
- Recommended levels of alcohol
- Ways to manage endometriosis symptoms with diet management
Table of Contents
- Does Alcohol Cause Endometriosis?
- Can Alcohol Use Contribute to Infertility Associated With Endometriosis?
- Can Alcohol Affect Endometriosis?
- Endometriosis and Alcohol: How Much is Too Much?
- How Do Elevated Estrogen Levels Affect Endometriosis?
- Endometriosis and Nutrition: Low Estrogen Diet For Endometriosis
- What Type of Foods and Drinks Can Negatively Impact Endometriosis?
- What Type of Foods and Drinks Can Positively Impact Endometriosis?
Does Alcohol Consumption Cause Endometriosis?
According to a literature review in Ginekologia Polska (Polish Gynecology), alcohol consumption is often higher in women suffering from endometriosis.
This hints at a connection, but not necessarily a cause.
A research article in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that alcohol use showed the greatest negative effects, with just over 50% of participants reporting adverse effects.
So does alcohol cause endometriosis?
The research is unclear—But there is a link.
Many women have reported that when they cut alcohol from their diet, many symptoms improve.
Can Alcohol Use Contribute to Infertility Associated With Endometriosis?
The endocrine system (or hormonal system) is the primary regulatory system for the entire body.
Hormones are released in response to specific events in your body.
This means when something affects the endocrine system, the effects can ripple throughout the body.
Alcohol might start a snowball effect.
In men, alcohol can also temporarily reduce sperm quality.
Whether you have endometriosis or not, reducing your alcohol intake may have a positive effect on fertility.
Can Alcohol Affect Endometriosis?
Higher estrogen is bad news for women with endometriosis, and can even be a predictor for babies becoming predisposed to endometriosis in the womb.
This is one of the many reasons it’s suggested you do not drink alcohol while pregnant.
What’s the connection between endometriosis and alcohol?
One study found all hormone levels were higher in women who drink around 2 drinks per day.
How does this affect endometriosis symptoms?
Keep reading to learn about healthy alcohol limits and what can happen when we overindulge.
Endometriosis and Alcohol: How Much is Too Much?
Can I still have a celebratory morning mimosa? How about a drink or two at happy hour?
In short, portion control is best.
Binge drinking is best left in the past.
Hangovers get worse with age after all.
One or two drinks a couple of times a week is OK, but drinking heavily raises the risk of elevating estrogen levels which can exacerbate endometriosis symptoms.
Consider the alcohol content of the drink, too.
One glass of wine is very different from one glass of tequila. One might relax you—the other might knock you out.
How Do Elevated Estrogen Levels Affect Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a very estrogen-dependent condition.
A healthy body has a balance between progesterone and estrogen.
So what does estrogen do?
During your monthly cycle, it thickens the endometrium which is the lining of your uterus.
Too much estrogen has been linked to:
- Breast tenderness
- Bloating and fluid retention
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Mood swings
- Thyroid issues
- Weight gain
And while these symptoms are uncomfortable in many ways, a higher estrogen count has been found to increase the growth of endometrial tissue.
Endometriosis and Nutrition: Low Estrogen Diet For Endometriosis
Both environment and genetics both have a role to play in endometriosis. To a point, you can have an impact on one of them: your environment.
The purpose of an Endo Diet is to control as much as we can to reduce our symptoms.
It’s best to eat foods that help lower inflammation and decrease the chance of estrogen overload.
Keep reading to see some foods that harm and help us in our goal of reducing endometriosis symptoms.
What Type of Foods and Drinks Can Negatively Impact Endometriosis?
There is plenty of literature that points to causes and risk factors for endometriosis.
It can be so confusing to sift through it all.
But what does this mean for you?
Here are some foods to avoid with endometriosis.
Our bodies are incredibly vulnerable when we’re young.
Researchers have found that exposure to soy products and formula in early life increased someone's risk of developing endometriosis.
You may be wondering, “What does that mean for me now?”
In order to protect our daughters, it’s something we might want to think about.
One study found that infants that were fed soy formulas were more than 2x likely to develop endometriosis than those who weren’t.
Soy products contain high amounts of isoflavones.
Try saying that five times fast.
Isoflavones are more likely to increase estrogen levels for post-menopausal women.
Different soy products have different levels of isoflavone content. For example:
- 1 cup of soy milk has 6mg of isoflavone content
- ½ cup of boiled edamame beans have 16 mg of isoflavone content
- ½ cup of mature, boiled soybeans have 55mg of isoflavone content
Not every soy product comes with the same risk to infants or postmenopausal women.
Fatty foods are high in PCBs (a man-made chemical called polychlorinated biphenyls) and dioxins.
PCBs can be found in more than just your food.
They are found in:
- Contaminated drinking water
- Older, broken fluorescent lights
- The soil of hazardous waste sites
But what about your food?
Here are some suggested fatty foods, PCB, and dioxin-laden foods to avoid
- Red meats
- High-fat dairy foods
- Foods high in trans-fat
- Bottom feeding freshwater fish like catfish, carp, loach, shrimp or snails
- Not common, but notable nonetheless: buffalo
Caffeine, Alcohol and Sugary Drinks
The one thing these drinks have in common is they are inflammatory.
An anti-inflammatory diet is key to maintaining pain levels for those with endometriosis.
What Type of Foods and Drinks Can Positively Impact Endometriosis?
While we think about foods to avoid, it’s equally important to think of foods that help us.
It’s important to have a nutrient-rich, balanced diet.
I’ve curated meal plans and recipes to make this easier.
As someone with stage four endometriosis, I have a personal stake in this and I want to make it easier for you to live healthier.
Some key things to think about as you plan your meals:
- Is it anti-inflammatory?
- Is it rich in antioxidants and healthy fats?
- Is it plant-centered?
Here are some specific suggestions to think about as you meal plan.
Fruits and Vegetables
Red and yellow fruits and vegetables are the ones that will reduce the risk of developing endometriosis the most.
They contain beta-cryptoxanthin which acts as a protectant.
A study of over 2,000 women found that citrus fruits greatly helped reduce their risk of developing endometriosis.
What about those of us that already have endometriosis?
Look for those:
- Leafy greens
- Fibrous vegetables like broccoli and artichokes
- Turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties
Those Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are omega-3 fatty acids.
Some great sources of omega-3s that are also compatible with an endo diet are:
- Coldwater fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or herring
- Plant oils such as flaxseed oil and canola
- Nuts and seeds such as walnuts, flaxseed, almonds, and chia seeds
- Supplements such as fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and algal oil
Focus on the nutrients you’ll get from your meals.
Foods with vitamin B and fiber help the body break down estrogen in the body.
Stick to the edges of the grocery store and you’ll be more likely to find foods that work well with your body.
Processed foods and sugary foods are likely to be found in the aisles in the middle.