How diet changes can help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis
Changing what you eat to deal with Endometriosis is a really good foundation to assist you in reducing your symptoms, and will also help improve your overall health.
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine and Medicine Be Thy Food."
Many are aware that various illnesses and diseases have responded very positively to changes in diet, and endometriosis is no exception. There are plenty of positive feedback stories from others saying how they have improved significantly by making changes in their diet.
Changing your diet can help with the following:
AND changing what you eat can also :
Endo-resolved has been providing advice about the benefits of diet to help with the symptoms of endometriosis for a number of years. The advice here has been endorsed by Dr Camran Nezhat - the endometriosis specialist.
AIM OF DIET TO REDUCE YOUR SYMPTOMS
Endometriosis causes inflammation especially where there is damage caused by cysts and adhesions. Inflammation can also occur in the digestive tract which can be caused when endometriosis infiltrates the digestive tract, especially the bowel. Changing your diet to an anti-inflammatory diet will help to reduce inflammation and in turn will help reduce pain.
When dealing with endometriosis you need to keep estrogen levels under control as estrogen feeds the development of endometriosis. Certain foods contain phyto-estrogens, however they are not as potent as the bodies own estrogens. Eating some phyto-estrogenic foods can help to block estrogen receptors which will reduce the effect of your own estrogen hormones.
Certain foods can cause pain and inflammation as they increase negative prostaglandins that are responsible for causing pain and inflammation in the body. By reducing your intake of foods that increase prostaglandins you will obviously be able to reduce pain and inflammation.
Gut inflammation, leaky gut, and SIBO can contribute to poor absorption of nutrients which can result in poor immune health and inflammation. Eating foods that support the gut and avoiding foods that irritate the gut will aid in the whole healing process. You could be eating the best diet to help endometriosis, and using anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, but if your gut health is poor, the likelihood that you are absorbing your nutrients is reduced.
Blood sugar balance
Blood sugar imbalances can lead to inflammation, immune flares, hormonal imbalances, and compromised brain function. Supporting balanced blood sugar is critical for recovery from any inflammatory condition and ensures much needed energy levels are sustained in order to reduce further stress on the body.
Every system in the body needs a wide array of nutrients to function at its best, including the immune system, your reproductive system and even your brain. Nutrient-dense foods are central to the diet, giving your body the tools it needs to heal deficiencies and support every function of the body.
By eating a clean, nourishing diet and not eating toxic foods that contain chemicals, e-numbers, preservatives and pesticides will help to detox and reduce stress on the body. This will help to speed the healing process.
Immune system support
Inflammation, leaky gut, hormone imbalances, blood sugar imbalances, and micronutrient deficiencies can all contribute to a compromised immune system. By reducing bacterial overgrowth and inflammation in the gut and supporting blood sugar regulation, the diet will help to support healthy immune function. Also, there is the need to calm an over-active immune system response by avoiding certain proteins like gluten and dairy, as these can disrupt the immune-system.
So where do we start!
Pain and hormones in relation to diet .....
Endometriosis is fed by estrogen synthesis in the body. This can take the form of:
The correct diet can help to balance these different forms of estrogen
You also need to reduce your use of xeno-estrogens (found in highly chemical based cosmetics and toiletries) in order to reduce xeno-estrogens from your system - which can worsen symptoms.
Prostaglandins and pain
As well as dealing with estrogen levels, you need to address the levels of prostaglandins in your body. Prostaglandins are very complex natural fatty acids and are derived from dietary sources. There are many different forms of prostaglandins and new types are still being discovered. The painful menstrual cramps you feel are actually due to prostaglandins, as well as the pain symptoms of endometriosis. A change in diet can alter the level and the types of prostaglandins in your body.
We actually have two main 'types' of prostaglandins - there are the 'good ones' and the 'bad ones'.
The aim of the endometriosis diet is to block the 'bad ones' because of their negative actions on the body, and increase the levels of the 'good ones' because of their opposite and positive effect. The action of the 'bad ones' will increase uterine contractions and pain, and increase inflammation. The role of the 'good ones' have a soothing effect and do the opposite to the bad ones. When you change the oils in your diet you can promote the good prostaglandins.
Omega 3 oils will reduce pain & inflammation
The good anti-inflammatory oils are found in the omega-3 fatty oil group, and lead to good prostaglandin production. Some of the best sources of omega-3 oils are found in marine and plant oils and include:
You can also supplement with omega 3 oil - aim to get the best quality possible. At the same time it is important to reduce intake of the fatty acids that stimulate negative prostaglandins which are found in saturated fats, animal fats and butter.
It will help your symptoms if you increase your intake of fiber, as fiber will help to decrease the circulating estrogen in your system. The easiest sources of fiber to digest are found in fruit and vegetables as the structure and chemical make-up provide a more soothing effect while also aiding digestion. Also, extra fiber in the form of grains, brown rice and pulses etc., are helpful especially for their nutritional value, but keep your fiber intake balanced between the two.
These can include:
Foods containing natural plant sterols (phyto-estrogens) can actually be helpful if consumed in careful balance. They are thought to block the estrogen receptors, so in turn excess estrogen in the body cannot ‘lock-in’ to these receptors. These include:
Suggested Foods to Avoid
This is a list of the food groups suggested to avoid to help reduce symptoms of endometriosis. You may not have problems with all these foods groups, but it seems many women have success by avoiding most of these foods.
A note about meat production:
Modern meat rearing now involves administering hormones to animals in the form of ear implants. One of these hormones, zeranol, is a form of estrogen made from mould called fusarium. Antibiotics have also been used as a growth promoter for forty years and we now get a small but insidious dose of antibiotics in nearly every meat and dairy product we eat.
In addition, a large percentage of women are noticeably zinc-deficient and some animals ingest copper-containing formulae which makes this balance even worse because copper is antagonistic to zinc. Copper also keeps estrogen levels high. Interestingly, copper is used in birth control pills as copper helps control the ovulation cycle.
You are strongly advised to go organic and eat white meat or oily fish to obtain your protein. Some women are OK when eating grass-fed beef, but for many red meat can set off symptoms of pain and inflammation
To sum up
Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet
As you can see by the advice above, there are many foods you are advised to leave out of your diet completely, especially if you are to reap the benefits. The prospect of adjusting your diet radically may seem somewhat daunting.
There are many great recipes you can use, and the hard work has been done for you......
A book of recipes specifically for a diet to help endometriosis
The advice and recipes in the book are the bottom line, based on ingredients and recipes that are best suited to a diet to help reduce the pain and inflammation of endometriosis.
Read feedback what other women have said about their diet experiences - read the feedback comments here (opens new window)
Over 250 anti-inflammatory, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, wheat free recipes
The advice in the book also includes:
All customised for a diet to help reduce your symptoms
To place your order
Make a start to reduce the painful and debilitating symptoms of endometriosis - loads of women as well as medical professionals are now realising just how much our foods can change or affect our bodies.
About the Author
My name is Carolyn Levett, the Founder of endo-resolved - I am an Integrative Health Coach having studied nutrition, naturopathy, aromatherapy as well as being a published author. I used to suffer from severe endometriosis and was able to regained my health and heal from the disease with the support of nutrition and natural therapies.
My motivation is to help other women with endometriosis to heal their bodies so they may overcome this awful disease without having to rely on toxic drugs and surgeries which can cause further damage - with healing thoughts, Carolyn.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15254009 - red meat and endometriosis link
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3626048/ - dairy consumption and endometriosis
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23334113 - endometriosis and gluten link
https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/25/6/1528/2915756 - dietary fat and endometriosis