Reviewed by Dr. Melissa Thompson, PT, DPT, MTC
Dr. Thompson is board certified and the owner of Louisiana Pelvic Health. Her expertise is in alleviating bladder, bowel, and sexual pain symptoms during pregnancy, postpartum, and throughout a woman's life.
You wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about (and feel) are your endometriosis symptoms.
You go to be at night and the last thing you think about (and feel) are your endometriosis symptoms.
You want relief.
But you don’t know what to do.
Thankfully, a gluten-free diet has been proven by science to likely improve endometriosis symptoms. Scroll down to learn more.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a group of proteins found in certain grains:
The two main proteins (and the ones that cause the most problem for women with endometriosis are 1) glutenin and 2) gliadin.
That’s the science-y stuff. But why is gluten so widespread?
Gluten makes dough elastic
Gluten makes dough elastic. And that’s why it’s so important in cooking.
Without gluten, bread would be flat and dense. Pastries would not be fluffy and flaky. And chicago-style deep dish pizza probably wouldn’t exist.
There are certain ways to increase elasticity in dough without gluten, but it’s much harder and oftentimes doesn’t result in the same texture, taste, and more.
In a way, gluten is irreplaceable because of that.
But, the gluten we eat today is not the same gluten that our ancestors ate.
The history of gluten
That’s about the time that humans began harvesting wild forms of wheat.
That’s a LONG time ago.
And, the wheat in that time was very different than the wheat that we eat today.
Einkorn is the oldest form of wheat.
- Has 30% more protein than modern wheat
- Has only 14 chromosomes & modern wheat has 42 chromosomes (that have been genetically added to which changes the gluten content
- Has unchanged structure from thousands of years ago that equips the body with the necessary tools to properly break it down.
On the other hand, modern wheat:
- Has a much higher glycemic index
- Has less good quality fiber
- Has significantly less micro and macronutrients our body needs
Basically, wheat and gluten has changed significantly:
This isn’t to say that if you go and start eating einkorn flour that you’ll feel fine.
It still has gluten.
But it shows that modern science and farming practices have completely changed the structure of the food.
So, what does that have to do with endometriosis?
Why is gluten bad for women with endometriosis?
Gluten has many adverse effects for women with endometriosis.
Here they are:
1. Increased inflammation
And this isn’t just for people with celiac disease.
There has been a significant increase in adverse inflammation in people who do not have celiac disease.
For women with endometriosis, inflammation is the enemy.
Symptoms flare up for women with endometriosis when inflammation increases. This can happen due to stress, environmental factors, and food.
2. IBS symptoms can worsen
As you probably already know, there’s a higher percentage of women with IBS who have endometriosis compared to those who do not have endometriosis.
And gluten can really irritate the intestinal tract for those women that have irritable bowel syndrome.
3. It can worsen depression
A recent study concluded that women with endometriosis are more likely to have depression:
“According to recent data, women with endometriosis are at risk for anxiety, depressive symptoms and other psychiatric disorders.”
But, here’s where it gets even more interesting.
There is recent science concluding a link between the gut and emotional disorders.
And a study found evidence that there it is likely that gluten can negatively influence symptoms of depression.
Gluten-free diet benefits for women with endometriosis:
Here are some of the benefits of going gluten-free for women with endometriosis:
1. Decreased Pelvic Pain Symptoms
“156 women with endometriosis were asked to follow a gluten-free diet for 12 months, 75% showed a significant change in pelvic pain symptoms.”
2. Decreased Inflammation Which Should Improve All Endo Symptoms
Eliminating gluten has been found to decrease inflammation in the body.
And for women with endometriosis, eliminating inflammation is the key to reducing flare-ups and negative symptoms.
But, there’s more you can do:
Eliminating gluten will be massively beneficial to your health.
But, there’s more that you can do:
Applying a daily all-natural, vegan, and gluten-free moisturizer can nourish your vaginal skin and provide healing and relief.