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.
Women with endometriosis are at higher risk for food allergies. And those food allergies might make endo symptoms worse by increasing inflammation in the body. The main allergies for women with endometriosis are gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and alcohol.
Here’s why this matters (and why you'll want to know why you might be allergic to these foods and what to do about it):
And eating foods that you’re allergic to REALLY increase inflammation.
So, this guide will share the top 5 allergies that women with endometriosis have (based on science) and how you can avoid those foods.
Why does diet matter for women with endometriosis?
I’ve talked with a lot of women who say things like:
- “There’s no way diet can help my endometriosis symptoms.”
- “I understand that diet is important to my health but I don’t see how it’s related to endometriosis…”
- “Is there real science behind any of this diet for endometriosis stuff?”
The answer to the main question of why diet matters for endometriosis?
As we mentioned above, the symptoms of endometriosis worsen with inflammation.
And diet is a key ingredient to how much inflammation is in your body.
By changing your diet, you have the ability to influence (in a positive or negative direction) how much inflammation you have.
There are certain foods in particular that are likely to cause more inflammation than others. This guide shares the five most common foods that women with endometriosis are allergic too (and that will increase inflammation and worsen symptoms).
What if we told you that by removing gluten you’d have a 75% likelihood of reducing pelvic pain symptoms and feeling better?
“156 women with endometriosis were asked to follow a gluten-free diet for 12 months, 75% showed a significant change in pelvic pain symptoms.”
Simply by doing one thing, removing gluten, women with endometriosis were able to feel better and have fewer symptoms.
Why is gluten bad for endometriosis?
There is recent evidence that people who eat gluten regularly and do NOT have celiac disease (not technically allergic to gluten) are estimated to have much more inflammation than those who do not eat gluten.
What does this mean?
If you eat gluten regularly, you’re likely to increase inflammation. And increased inflammation means worsening symptoms of endometriosis.
Don’t just eat gluten-free
Gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.
There are tons of gluten-free cookies, cakes, desserts, sweets, pizzas, breads, and more that are still unhealthy for you.
Gluten-free foods can still have high quantities of sugar, be highly processed, and have other ingredients that promote inflammation.
Many people with conditions that worsen with inflammation (like endometriosis), are often highly reactive to casein, a protein found in dairy.
By removing dairy, especially dairy that does not contain lactose & casein, inflammation is likely to decrease.
Why is gluten bad for endometriosis?
Dairy, for many people, can induce stomach pain, bloating, and discomfort.
This is especially the case with women with endometriosis since a higher percentage are likely to have Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It’s also the quality of the dairy
There are ridiculous amounts of hormones, antibiotics, and other nasty ingredients in conventional dairy.
With grass-fed, organic, and all-natural dairy, those chemicals, hormones, and other unwanted additives are not found.
So, if you must eat dairy, then opt for higher-quality dairy.
There have not been enough studies linking soy with having a negative effect on endometriosis symptoms.
While this is the case, removing soy has personally helped me decrease my endometriosis symptoms and has helped many women that I know.
Soy can be bad for you because:
Why can soy be bad for endometriosis?
90% of soy today is genetically modified and can have adverse side effects on your health.
Soy contains phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen, and these have been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer and other hormone imbalances.
Soy is not what it once was
Not ALL soy is bad for you.
For women without endometriosis, there is a specific type of soy that could be good for you - but, most of the soy on the market does not come in this form.
Soy is eaten in Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is a “Blue Zone,” meaning that it is one of the healthiest and longest-living places on the planet.
But, this soy is non-GMO, slowly fermented (producing beneficial probiotics), and eaten in moderation.
Eggs have gone through a lot…
Folks that eat a paleo diet rave about eggs.
But, who is correct?
Why are eggs bad for endometriosis?
Eggs have been shown to increase inflammation, especially for those people that have intolerances to eggs.
The egg quality makes a difference
There have been chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer found in conventional eggs.
Cage-free, hormone-free eggs are less likely to cause inflammation (for people without endometriosis, at least).
So, if you decide to eat eggs, make sure to find organic, cage-free options.
It’s relatively common knowledge that alcohol increases inflammation, especially when drank in excess.
But, what about one drink every once in a while?
Keep reading to find out what science has to say.
Why is alcohol bad for endometriosis?
There have been studies that claim that drinking too much alcohol can actually lead to endometriosis.
But, the main reason why we recommend avoiding alcohol if you’re a woman with endometriosis?
Alcohol can increase inflammation. And increased inflammation usually leads to worsening endometriosis symptoms.
You’re allowed the break the rules with alcohol every once in a while...
Just because alcohol may increase your inflammation doesn’t mean you have to avoid it for the rest of your life.
There are times to celebrate.
There are times to enjoy the company of friends and family.
And, when those occasions come up and you want to engage in the celebrations, don’t feel guilty having a drink.
It's more than just food...
Many women with endometriosis don't realize the importance of a nutrient-dense, vaginal-healing daily moisturizer.
Having chemical-free, all-natural, and vegan ingredients that soothe and heal your vaginal skin is key.