Hidden gluten and endometriosis

Watch out for Hidden Gluten! 

It seems gluten can really cause problems for many with endometriosis and make  symptoms worse - and gluten can be hidden is surprising places

Hidden gluten endometriosis diet

To heal your gut and help to reduce you symptoms of endometriosis, then omitting gluten from your diet is highly recommended.  Gluten  causes inflammation which in turn will increase your levels of pain.  So to keep your inflammation down cutting out gluten all together is a sensible option, along with adding in foods that actually help to reduce inflammation which you can read about here.

However you need to be careful as there are lots of hidden sources of gluten, some of which may not seem so obvious.

Some of the sources of hidden gluten include:

  • Energy bars/granola bars – some bars may contain wheat as an ingredient, and most use oats that are not gluten free. (You can get gluten free oats, but they need to be processed in factory where they will not be contaminated by gluten products)  
  • Potato chips – some potato chip seasonings may contain malt vinegar or wheat starch  
  • Processed lunch meats 
  • Candy and candy bars 
  • Soup – pay special attention to cream-based soups, which have flour as a thickener. Many soups also contain barley 
  • Multi-grain or tortilla chips or tortillas that are not entirely corn-based may contain a wheat-based ingredient 
  •  Salad dressings and marinades – may contain malt vinegar, soy sauce, flour  
  • Brown rice syrup – may be made with barley enzymes 
  • Meat substitutes made with seitan (wheat gluten) such as vegetarian burgers, vegetarian sausage, imitation bacon, imitation seafood 
  •  Soy sauce  
  • Self-basting poultry 
  • Pre-seasoned meats 
  • Cheesecake filling – some recipes include wheat flour 
  • Eggs served at restaurants – some restaurants put pancake batter in their scrambled eggs and omelettes, but on their own, eggs are naturally gluten-free.  

Here is a list of alternative ingredients for the endometriosis diet including advice about alternative grains you can use for wheat  here 

You can also find out about whole-grains in your diet and which ones are gluten free here 

Hidden sources of gluten

Surprising  places for hidden gluten!  

You have to be really careful because some products may contain  gluten which are not so obvious. 

These include:

  • Lipstick, lip-gloss, lip-balm  
  • Herb or nutritional supplements  
  • Drugs, over-the-counter medications  
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements 
  • Lotions, moisturisers  
  • Shampoos  
  • Toothpaste 

* Fortunately, many supplement providers include details on their product labels listing any allergy problem ingredients including gluten 

The following ingredients can also contain gluten:

  • Dextrin  
  • Fermented grain extract   
  • Hydrolysate   
  • Hydrolysed malt extract  
  • Hydrolysed vegetable protein   
  • Maltodextrin extract   
  • Samino peptide complex   
  • Secale cereale   
  • Triticum aestivum  
  • Triticum vulgare   
  • Tocopherol/vitamin E Yeast extract  
  • Natural flavouring, caramel colour   
  • Brown rice syrup   
  • Modified food starch   
  • Hydrolysed vegetable protein (HVP)   
  • Hydrolysed soy protein

There have been two studies which show the benefits of avoiding gluten, even for those with significant pelvic pain from deep infiltrating endometriosis, with a reduction in symptoms. (1)

Read Your Labels for Gluten! 

To make sure you are not accidentally ingesting gluten, be sure to read the label on all your food products before purchasing. 

Look for the words “wheat, barley, rye and oats” to identify if a food contains gluten. 

If in doubt about a food, go without  it just to be sure! 

Keeping those hidden sources of gluten out of your diet really will help with the symptoms of endometriosis, but you need to prudent.

Fortunately there are more and more manufacturers making lots of great gluten free alternatives for your diet and their products are clearly labelled as such, so you wont get caught out.

Just do your homework and read the labels!!

If you want to read more about gluten in connection to endometriosis read HERE

So why is it advised to remove gluten as well as dairy from your diet read HERE

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(1) Marziali M, Capozzolo T. (2015) Role of gluten-free diet in the management of chronic pelvic pain of deep infiltrating endometriosis. J Minim Invasive Gynecol, 22(6S):S51–S52.

 Marziali M, Venza M, Lazzaro S, Lazzaro A, Micossi C, Stolfi VM. (2012) Gluten-free diet: a new strategy for management of painful endometriosis related symptoms? Minerva Chir, 67(6):499–504.


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.

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