Medically 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.
Your endometriosis may be mild or severe, and perhaps you’ve tried some traditional therapies and medications.
You, however, prefer natural treatments, so you know that diet, vitamins, and supplements can be important elements to consider for your endometriosis symptoms.
You’re wondering which vitamins to take for endometriosis.
Good news—there are many vitamins that can benefit you greatly as you continue to learn how your body responds to endometriosis.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How vitamins can help
- The benefits of both a healthy diet and supplements
- The best vitamins for endometriosis and fertility
Endometriosis Symptoms: How Vitamins Can Help
If you live with endometriosis, you are very familiar with the symptoms:
- Painful periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Excessive bleeding
- Constipation, bloating, and nausea
- Just to name a few . . .
Maybe you're skeptical that vitamins can have much of an impact, especially if your symptoms are severe.
A study completed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) revealed:
“As short as two months of administration of antioxidants (vitamins E and C) to women with endometriosis not only lowered peritoneal inflammatory markers (which might be responsible for the generation of the pain-inducing molecules), but also resulted in reduced chronic pelvic pain in these women.”
Science supports the claim that vitamins can lessen symptoms experienced by endometriosis sufferers.
The Endometriosis Association also suggests that nutrition and supplements support the:
- Digestive system
- Immune system
- Reproductive system
- Body’s ability to heal itself
The causes of endometriosis are varied and can include:
- Immune system disorders
- Increased estrogen levels
- Hormone imbalances
- Nutritional deficiencies
Because the causes of endometriosis can be multi-faceted, your treatment may need to be just as varied.
Vitamins C, E, and B all have different attributes and can be used to address the different causes of endometriosis symptoms.
The key is knowing which vitamins address particular symptom causes and then knowing where to get those vitamins through diet and supplementation.
Recommended Vitamins For Endometriosis Pain: Diet Vs Supplements
There are many effective ways to treat endometriosis, but I believe natural and holistic approaches are the best.
Diet and supplementation are both beneficial and essential to good health in women with endometriosis.
You simply need to educate yourself and listen to your body.
Educating yourself is an important first step.
Learning how diet can help you manage your symptoms empowers you and puts you in charge.
Listening to your body is also vital.
You know how different foods affect you. Avoid the ones that make you feel crappy and keep clean, healthy foods stocked in your cabinets and fridge.
Once you get some practice with healthy eating and supplements, your body will let you know which ones give you the best benefits.
How Your Diet Can Help Your Endometriosis
Food affects people in different ways, but the benefits of a healthy diet cannot be denied.
And that is especially true if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis.
Your endo grocery list should include foods that:
Click here for more details, tips, and recipes to help you implement a healthy endometriosis diet.
What Vitamins Are Good For Endometriosis
You want to find the best vitamins for endometriosis, and a quality multivitamin may be a good place to start.
It is also helpful to look at individual vitamins and learn how they can benefit women with endometriosis.
The most common recommended vitamins for endometriosis are:
- Vitamin C
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Vitamin C For Endometriosis
You probably think of taking Vitamin C when you have a cold or when you’re trying to ward one off. Vitamin C is an excellent choice for boosting your immune system.
Vitamin C is also one of the most popular vitamins to take for endometriosis treatment.
Vitamin C is an essential, water-soluble vitamin, which means that your body does not produce it and also does not store it. You must get it from food or supplementation, and if you have extra vitamin C in your body, it simply comes out in your pee.
How does vitamin C help you if you have endometriosis?
- It acts as an antioxidant, lessening oxidative stress that can be caused by endometriosis.
- Vitamin C boosts your immune system. Overall, health is better when your immune system is functioning at an optimal level.
- It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
- Vitamin C can help in reducing pelvic pain.
Taking a vitamin C supplement is fine, but it’s better to get your vitamin C from your diet. And with so many foods rich in vitamin C, getting your daily recommended allowance of vitamin C should be a fairly easy task.
You can get your recommended 75 mg of vitamin C by eating the following fruits and vegetables:
- Brussel sprouts
- Green and red peppers
- Oranges and orange juice
The B Vitamins For Endometriosis
Like vitamin C, the B vitamins are water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body. Because the B vitamins can’t be stored in your body, you can run the risk of being deficient in them.
The B vitamins are fragile vitamins that are necessary for metabolic processes and can easily be destroyed by cooking, alcohol, and food processing.
The B vitamins are crucial for the converting of fatty acids (more info about those below), and if essential fatty acids are not converted well, it can result in more painful periods for the endometriosis sufferer.
Of the eight B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12), vitamin B6 seems to be the chief one to choose when considering natural relief for endometriosis.
What makes vitamin B6 so special?
- It can help regulate hormones.
- It can reduce estrogen levels, which could relieve pain during periods.
Women need 1.2 mg of vitamin B6 a day, and you can find vitamin B6 in:
- Non-citrus fruits
- Potatoes and other starchy vegetables
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids for Endometriosis
As the name suggests, there are 3 main essential fatty acids:
- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
- EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
- DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids are, well, essential.
Since your body doesn't produce them naturally, you must get them from your diet or supplements.
Essential fatty acids are those used for metabolic processes as opposed to fats used for fuel.
Omega-3 Fatty acids can help women with endometriosis by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Supporting the immune system
- Improving hormone function
According to MedicineNet, Omega-3 fatty acids may also help reduce your risk of developing endometriosis. “Women . . . who eat diets rich in omega-3 oils are 22% less likely to develop the condition, a new study finds.”
Since the recommended daily allowance of Omega-3 fatty acids varies, check with your doctor to help determine your daily needs.
Include the following foods in your diet to ensure you are getting enough Omega-3:
- Oils like flaxseed oil, soybean oil, canola oil
- Nuts and seeds
Best Prenatal Vitamins For Endometriosis
Many factors affect fertility, and having endometriosis is only one of those factors. Just because you have endometriosis doesn’t mean you can’t bear children.
Early diagnosis and effective management of endometriosis can increase your chances of getting pregnant and enjoying many of the other blessings of motherhood like 3:00 a.m. feedings, messy diapers, and rocking your sweet baby back to sleep.
If you’re pregnant or hope to get pregnant, you probably want to know about vitamins for endometriosis and fertility.
Taking a daily prenatal vitamin is important whether you have endometriosis or not.
If you are currently pregnant, you should certainly be taking a prenatal vitamin.
Taking a prenatal vitamin before you get pregnant is a good idea, too, but you should check with your doctor to know when to start.
A good prenatal vitamin should include the following:
- Omega 3 DHA
- 200 mg is recommended for pregnant and nursing women.
- Folic Acid - at least 400 mcg
Folic acid is important for helping prevent neural tube birth defects. Taking a prenatal vitamin while you are trying to get pregnant is important because these birth defects often develop within the first 28 days of your pregnancy.
Foods rich in folic acid include:
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Citrus fruits
Calcium is essential for maintaining bone density during pregnancy and for the bone development of your baby.
Good sources of calcium to consider include:
Iron is necessary for increased hemoglobin production that is important during pregnancy. It is also vital for moving oxygen throughout your body as well as your baby’s and protects you against developing anemia.
Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, so make sure to include vitamin C rich foods along with the following iron-rich choices:
- Lean, red meat
- Dried apricots
Iodine is necessary during pregnancy for good thyroid function. Lack of iodine can contribute to mental defects in your baby and increases the risk of miscarriage.
If you’re looking for ways to add iodine to your pregnancy diet, try eating:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Iodized salt
- Baked potatoes