Every month it is the same battle.
You feel the ‘rallying cry’ of your body. The next thing you know, you’re doubled up on the couch wielding two heating pads. Consider your dinner plans officially canceled.
Before you call in a pizza from that greasy franchise restaurant, consider this: what you eat may better or worsen your endometriosis symptoms.
You’d do just about anything to have some control over those day-ruining endo cramps. And you just might be able to with a few dietary adjustments.
With these diet tips for endometriosis, we can help you get ahead and use food to fight your symptoms.
Table of Contents
- How What They Eat Helps or Hurts Women With Endometriosis
- 12 Endometriosis Diet Tips for Optimal Nutrition and Symptom Management
- Chiavaye: Products and Educational Resources That Support Women’s Health
How What They Can Eat Helps or Hurts Women With Endometriosis
Endometriosis is associated with excess estrogen. Excess estrogen can cause a myriad of issues like vaginal dryness, painful cramping, heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, and the growth of tissue outside the uterus. All of these are symptoms of endometriosis.
Oxidative stress may also play a role in the development of endometriosis. Oxidative stress is a condition caused by too many unstable oxygen molecules and not enough antioxidants to control them. Oxidative stress caused by endometriosis can result in inflammation and inflammatory damage in the uterus.
Food is a key player in fighting oxidative stress and balancing estrogen. Just as food can help, it can also harm. Use these endometriosis diet tips to avoid foods that promote inflammation and hormonal imbalances.
12 Endometriosis Diet Tips for Optimal Nutrition and Symptom Management
Imagine your gut biome is a small army, and your endometriosis is the ‘big bad’.
You’d want to feed your army the best foods to combat your endometriosis symptoms and avoid foods that would aid the enemy, right?
Nutrition will not ‘cure’ your endo, but it can give you the agency to limit its effect on your daily life.
You don’t have to adhere to strict fad diets or carve out every enjoyable thing about food to do this. These simple endometriosis diet tips should help assist you along the path of triumph over your chronic illness.
#1: Limit Trans Fats
Trans fats can trigger intestinal inflammation, which can lead to irritation and pressure on surrounding areas.
Trans fats can stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are small proteins responsible for cell signaling. When you consume something that is pro-inflammatory, like foods high in trans fats, cytokines signal the cell to promote systemic inflammation.
One study found that trans fats may increase the risk of developing endometriosis.
Foods that contain trans fats include:
- Processed food
- Fried food
- Shortening and margarine
#2: Increase Omega-3 Fats
Studies have shown that an increase in omega-3 fats in your diet may reduce inflammation and manage pain caused by endometriosis.
Overproduction of prostaglandins is associated with endometriosis. Prostaglandins are akin to hormones and are responsible for defending and repairing tissues.
Prostaglandins are also responsible for uterine contractions in pain or labor. Higher levels of prostaglandins may cause more severe menstrual cramps and inflammation.
Omega-3 fats have been found to limit the biosynthesis of prostaglandins.
Seeds and fish are excellent sources of omega-3 fats — which is a good excuse to eat plenty of sushi and add everything bagel seasoning onto, well, everything.
Foods that are high in omega-3 fats include:
- Fatty fish (tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc.)
- Seeds (chia, flaxseed, poppyseeds, etc.)
#3: Eat Less Red Meat
An observational study found that higher red meat intake may be linked to an increased risk of endometriosis.
The study found that women who ate the most red meat also had been diagnosed with endometriosis.
Red meat may have added hormones that can affect estrogen levels, especially if the meat is factory farmed and cornfed. Red meat may also trigger inflammation since it is high in saturated fats.
You don’t have to give up eating steak — it’s a great source of iron. Just remember this endometriosis diet tip and don’t overdo it.
#4: Try Soy
Unprocessed soy products are a good source of antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect on endometriosis symptoms.
Soy products contain a high amount of isoflavones, which is like estrogen but for plants. Studies have discovered that isoflavones from soy products can bind to human estrogen receptors and may weaken the overproduction of estrogen in premenopausal women.
Soy is an excellent substitute for meat and dairy since animal products may have hidden hormones that can trigger endometriosis.
Factory farming makes use of adding hormones to increase the size of production and manage breeding cycles in livestock.
Hormones that may be given to farm animals include:
#5: Limit Sugar and Sugary Drinks
Sugary sweets are pro-inflammatory and should be limited to reduce symptoms of endometriosis.
Your gut is an important biome when it comes to warding off harsh endometriosis symptoms. Sugar negatively impacts your gut biome because a high intake of sugar can reduce beneficial gut bacteria.
For those with a sweet tooth: try substituting fruit the next time you crave something sweet.
#6: Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol may raise estrogen levels and may be associated with systemic inflammation.
Caffeine and alcohol are also known to aggravate the digestive system, which can exacerbate the pain from menstrual cramping.
While you do not have to eliminate either from your diet, it is already recommended that alcohol and caffeine intake be limited for a healthy style.
If you’re going to continue to drink alcohol or caffeine, the recommended limits are:
- Alcohol: Limit your intake to one drink a day.
- Caffeine: Do not exceed more than 200mg of caffeine a day.
#7: Eat Plenty of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains
If your gut biome is an army battling your endo, consider fiber and antioxidants its best weapons. The best way to upgrade your nutritional arsenal is by eating plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Fiber helps remove excess estrogen.
Estrogen is a necessary hormone, but we know that too much of it can worsen endometriosis symptoms. Your body removes excess estrogen and processes it as stool, so fiber plays an important role when regulating hormones.
Antioxidants have been proven to reduce inflammation and pelvic pain associated with endometriosis.
Antioxidants alleviate oxidative stress by controlling free radicals and reducing the damage done by oxidation. Oxidative stress is one of the main causes of inflammation in inflammatory diseases like endometriosis.
Foods that contain a high amount of antioxidants and fiber include:
- Greens (spinach, broccoli, avocados, kale)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, acai berries, goji berries, raspberries)
- Dark chocolate
Endometriosis diet tips and recipes do not have to be strict or boring. There are plenty of endometriosis-friendly recipes that use fruits and vegetables in fun and delicious ways!
#8: Consume Less Processed Foods
Processed foods are high in sugar, trans fats, and sodium — three triggers that can cause inflammation and aggravate endometriosis.
It can be hard to completely avoid processed foods, but even a few good choices can help reduce food-related endo symptoms.
Understandably, you might be busy with life. Processed foods can be a quick and easy fix for when you’re short on time and absolutely ravenous. Meal prepping is an easy way to avoid processed foods when you don’t have the time or energy to cook every day.
#9: Try Gluten-Free or Low FODMAP Diets
It has been discovered that hormonal imbalances may be linked to gluten. Hormonal imbalances in women with endometriosis could cause an increase in painful cramps.
One study found that the implementation of a gluten-free diet reduced pelvic pain in women with endometriosis by 75% after following a gluten-free diet for one year.
If you are unsure if gluten or other foods are your triggers, you may want to try a low-FODMAP diet.
The low-FODMAP diet is a temporary diet protocol where you systematically remove foods from your diet. By removing foods and keeping track of your flare-ups, you can deduce which foods are okay to eat and which to avoid.
Research has found that a low-FODMAP diet was 86% successful in reducing the symptoms of patients with IBS.
Since IBS and endometriosis share gastrointestinal and inflammatory symptoms, it would make sense that a low-FODMAP diet could help reduce your endo symptoms.
#10: Choose Quality Supplements
While it is important to get nutrients from your food, it may not always be so easy.
If you find it difficult to get nutrients that are essential to fighting your endo symptoms, you may consider adding supplements to your daily routine.
Some supplements that you can try include:
- Zinc: Zinc helps regulate menstrual cycles, which is an important factor when maintaining a healthy hormonal balance. Animal products contain a lot of zinc, so if you are vegan or vegetarian, you may want to consider a zinc supplement.
- Iron: Endometriosis can be associated with iron deficiency due to heavy bleeding. Iron also helps decrease oxidative stress in the body.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and may help ease cramps.
- Probiotics: Studies have found that probiotics can help regulate the microbiota in your gut and reduce hormonal imbalances associated with endometriosis.
#11: Experiment With Recipes
Some good old-fashioned home cooking is a great way to avoid food-related endo triggers like trans fats and sugar.
Not everyone has the time or energy to cook. Meal-prepping may be necessary to limit the stress that comes with the planning and time management involved in cooking.
Breakfast is one of the most fundamental meals of the day. But if you’re not a morning person, it can be challenging to make healthy choices. You might want to grab a pastry or a fast-food breakfast sandwich.
Before you write off homemade breakfast completely, consider some healthy and easy endometriosis-friendly breakfast recipes.
#12: Get Regular Exercise
Exercise, like the above-mentioned endometriosis diet tips, is not a cure for endometriosis. However, regular exercise is important when managing pain, inflammation, and hormonal imbalances associated with your endo.
You don’t have to be a crazy workout fiend to receive the symptom-lessening benefits of an active lifestyle. Low to moderate exercises may be all you need.
Activities that promote movement could be…
The pain and frustration that come with living with endometriosis can be hard to manage. Exercising is a great way to boost those endorphins you’ll need to reduce pain and fight depression or anxiety.
Chiavaye: Products and Educational Resources That Support Women’s Health
The battle with your endometriosis does not just end at your dinner table.
You might find yourself dealing with endo-related symptoms in the bedroom.
Endometriosis can cause vaginal dryness and painful sex. Nutrition alone may not ease these symptoms, and that’s when you might need a little extra help.
We understand the struggles of living with endometriosis. And we have designed all of our Chiavaye products with you and your chronic illness in mind.
Don’t wave a white flag to your endometriosis. Take back your sensual freedom and try Chiavaye’s all-natural and vegan personal lubricant and moisturizer.
The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.