It’s a Friday night tradition. You cook a mean steak on the barbeque and open a nice bottle of wine. Hey, why not celebrate another productive week with your favorite meal, right?
Maybe not. Did you know that the foods you eat may be contributing to your endometriosis symptoms?
What if we told you that a few changes to your diet could significantly reduce painful inflammation flare-ups?
Follow along as we take a deep dive into what foods to avoid if you have endometriosis and how you can identify your specific trigger foods.
Table of Contents
- How Can the Foods You Eat Make Your Endometriosis Symptoms Worse?
- Understanding What Foods To Avoid if You Have Endometriosis
- Foods to Avoid That May Trigger Inflammation
- Foods to Avoid That May Trigger Elevated Estrogen
- Identifying What Foods To Avoid for Endometriosis Flare-Ups in YOUR Body
- Chiavaye: An All-Natural Endo-Friendly Personal Lubricant To Add to Your Health & Wellness Routine
How Can the Foods You Eat Make Your Endometriosis Symptoms Worse?
High estrogen levels may cause inflammation and can worsen your endometriosis symptoms. Diet may play a role in both estrogen and inflammation, so it’s important to be mindful of what you’re eating.
Food not only helps your body fight inflammation, but it can also balance your hormones — including estrogen!
With the right diet, you may find that your endometriosis symptoms are significantly reduced.
During a regular menstrual cycle, tissue builds up and sheds if the woman does not become pregnant. For women with endometriosis, a tissue that acts and looks like endometrial tissue can develop outside of the uterus on the other reproductive organs or abdominal cavity.
When this abnormal tissue responds to the hormonal changes caused by a menstrual cycle, it can result in bleeding inside the pelvis. This leads to swelling, scarring, and inflammation of the normal tissue.
Certain foods, such as processed and packaged foods, contain inflammatory ingredients, including …
- Trans fat
- Saturated fat; and
- Added sugar
… and are particularly low in the important ingredients, such as:
- Zinc; and
- Healthy fats
Increased Estrogen Levels
Some research indicates that estrogen dominance is prolific in women with endometriosis. Abnormally high estrogen can exacerbate the growth of endometrial lesions in the reproductive organs.
While food may not be the only reason for higher than normal estrogen levels, it can certainly add to it.
One of the easiest ways to help manage estrogen levels is to include more fiber in your diet. Constipation can cause higher than normal estrogen levels, so a healthy bowel movement every day can help eliminate excess estrogen.
The key to adding more fiber is to take it slow. Going “all in” can cause bloating, cramping, and gas. Drink plenty of water as you begin to increase your intake and it will help offset these effects.
Understanding What Foods To Avoid if You Have Endometriosis
Foods to Avoid That May Trigger Inflammation
Every woman is different, so it’s important to keep in mind that what works for one may not work for another. However, most research indicates that certain foods are contributors to inflammation in women with endometriosis.
Saturated and Trans Fats
A diet high in saturated and trans fats may contribute to higher rates of endometriosis diagnosis, according to one study.
Trans fats are commonly found in processed, fried, and fast foods and may contribute to excess inflammation if eaten in replacement for other nutrients in the diet.
Limiting your intake of saturated and trans fats may help reduce painful inflammation.
We’ve all been warned about the effects of drinking too much soda but did you know that sodas can contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation? Soda — even diet soda — contains high amounts of:
- Refined sugars
- High fructose corn syrup; or
- Artificial sweeteners
Eliminating or limiting soda from your diet may help to reduce inflammation.
Gluten-free! It’s one of those diet trends we’ve been hearing about for some years now, but isn’t it just for people with celiac disease?
In one study, 75% of the women who took part reported an improvement in painful symptoms after 12 months of eating gluten-free.
Currently, there’s no hard evidence to support dairy as a trigger food for inflammation, other than some claims that eliminating dairy reduced painful symptoms.
This could be related to the saturated fats in dairy products, which can cause inflammation. However, this is usually only prevalent in people who are lactose intolerant.
The only way to determine if dairy is affecting your symptoms is to temporarily eliminate it from your diet. If you notice a significant change in your symptoms, you may want to avoid lactose products in the future.
Foods to Avoid That May Trigger Elevated Estrogen
Elevated estrogen levels can negatively impact the health of any woman, let alone those of us with endometriosis. Limiting certain foods can help keep your estrogen levels in check, thus reducing symptoms associated with hormone excesses.
While caffeine is not the cause of estrogen dominance, it can certainly contribute to the problem. Interestingly enough, the link between caffeine intake and estrogen dominance may be different among various racial groups, according to one study.
However, caffeine is also problematic for women with iron deficiency as it may inhibit iron absorption. This is especially concerning for women with endometriosis because they often experience a higher risk of developing iron-deficient anemia.
Alcohol has no nutritional value and can actually inhibit the absorption of vital nutrients needed to manage estrogen levels.
Drinking alcohol can also change the way your body metabolizes estrogen, causing levels to rise.
Limiting your alcohol intake to one to two glasses a week may help manage your estrogen levels and the symptoms related to high estrogen.
When choosing meats, leaner meat such as turkey and chicken should be your go-to, as long as it’s not processed.
As for red meat, research has shown that it may be linked to higher blood estrogen levels and inflammation. Another study indicates that heavy red meat consumption may contribute to the risk of endometriosis development.
When it comes to red meat consumption, you may want to limit it to one to two times per week and try eating fresh, grass-fed, or organic sources.
Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are compounds in the plant that mimic estrogen. This may be cause for concern as some studies have shown that infants who were fed soy formula had more than double the chance of getting endometriosis as an adult than those who were not fed soy formula.
However, some studies indicate that soy may not be associated with any risk of endometriosis and that the intake of soy may actually decrease the severity of symptoms.
It all comes back to figuring out what works for your body.
Identifying What Foods To Avoid for Endometriosis Flare-Ups in YOUR Body
Thankfully, we are all different. Otherwise, the world would be a boring place. However, that doesn’t help when trying to figure out what foods to avoid with endometriosis. It will be different for everyone.
Keeping a food journal and starting a careful elimination diet can help. We recommend you speak to your healthcare provider before making any major dietary changes.
Keep a Food Journal
One of the best ways to determine what foods work and which don’t is to start a food journal and listen to your body. Try recording your meals for two to four weeks and make notes as to how each food or meal makes you feel.
You may start to notice negative trends around certain foods, such as the ones listed above, or you may find the foods that help you feel your best.
A food journal is like a bird's eye view of your eating habits. When done correctly, it should be pretty clear which foods are your trigger foods.
Start an Elimination Diet
Discovering your food triggers will be nearly impossible without an elimination diet. Through this process, you’ll discover food intolerances that could be worsening your endo symptoms.
The idea behind the elimination diet is to stop eating particular foods and food groups that are a common cause of digestive health issues and then reintroduce them one at a time while taking note of how your body reacts.
You shouldn’t cut everything out all at once as it’s safer to do it in stages. One food group per week is recommended until you’ve reached the goal of eliminating any potential trigger foods.
These foods commonly include:
- Processed foods
- Processed meats and red meat
- Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, onions, eggplant, peppers)
An elimination diet typically takes 10 to 12 weeks to complete, but you can do this at your own speed. During the diet, your grocery list will consist of plenty of fiber, fresh fruits, veggies, grains (like quinoa and rice), organic meats, and plenty of healthy fats.
After you’ve eliminated all of the foods from the elimination diet protocol, you will reintroduce them one at a time while monitoring how you feel over the next 48 hours.
Chiavaye: An All-Natural Endo-Friendly Personal Lubricant To Add to Your Health & Wellness Routine
Endometriosis comes with a host of inconveniences — diet is just one of them!
Chiavaye was created for women like you because worrying about what foods to avoid with endometriosis is enough, dealing with vaginal dryness and painful sex doesn’t need to be the cherry on top.
Chiavaye daily personal moisturizer and vaginal lubricant was created so that you don’t need to do an elimination diet for your vagina. Our all-natural lubricant is safe and effective, and the only thing we’ve eliminated is the junk.
- Long-lasting; and
- Created by a woman with stage IV endometriosis
Eliminating foods is one thing — eliminating vaginal comfort and sex is another. Try Chiavaye all-natural personal lubricant and moisturizer for the ultimate in comfort and freedom.