Endometriosis is a little known female-only disease, and yet many women suffer from this condition, a large part undiagnosed.
The ignorance that exists about this disease makes the women who suffer it feel misunderstood and with a significant lack of support, besides ignoring the possible natural treatments that exist.
In this article, we explain what this disease consists of, among other symptoms causes infertility and intense menstrual pains, and how it can be treated naturally following some dietary guidelines.
Introduction To Endometriosis Diet
The lining of the womb, or uterus, is called the endometrium and is made up of endometrial tissue.
The endometriosis disease occurs when endometrial tissue grows and extends to other parts of the body, such as in the pelvic wall, the fallopian tubes walls, or around the ovaries, the bladder, or the bowel.
These areas of endometriosis bleed during periods; sometimes the blood is trapped, resulting in period pain (dysmenorrhea) and swelling.
Other symptoms that may occur are heavy periods (menorrhagia), and discomfort during urination, bowel movements, and sexual intercourse.
Conventional treatments include painkillers, various hormone treatments, and surgery.
There is some controversy as to whether or not certain polychlorinated chemicals in the environment play a role in endometriosis.
In recent years there has been an increasing interest in whether diet can alleviate the symptoms of endometriosis.
Scientific Studies on Endometriosis and Diet
There have been scientific studies on the effect of diet on endometriosis, but many of them have not given clear-cut results.
A diet high in dairy products was found to make endometriosis somewhat less likely to occur.
Some experts concluded that high vitamin D levels are not very likely to cause the disease.
Another study didn’t find any relation between caffeine intake and the risk of getting the disease (contradicting some earlier research).
A diet high in vegetables seems to decrease the risk of getting endometriosis, while a diet high in red meat increases the risk.
There is some evidence that fish oil supplements may be beneficial (at least in mice).
Italian researchers found that 12 months on a gluten-free diet reduced the severity of the pelvic pain related to endometriosis.
Popular Endometriosis dietary regimes
The Dr. McDougall Program is sometimes recommended for treating endometriosis (along with many other conditions). This is a low fat, vegan diet, high in complex carbohydrates.
People should eliminate white flour, white rice, and caffeine from their diet. Stopping eating meat may help endometriosis, although it is not clear whether the other components of the diet help or not.
Carolyn Levett, author of several books, including “Recipes for the endometriosis diet.” , is the one who popularized the Endometriosis Diet.
This dietary regime excludes wheat products, red meat, most dairy products, soy products, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and caffeine.
The exclusions of wheat products and red meat may be beneficial, although it is far from clear whether the other dietary prohibitions are helpful or not.
There are some questionable assertions in “Recipes for the endometriosis diet.” It states that “Coffee drinkers suffer from 60% more heart attacks than people who don’t drink it.”
However, a recent review of the scientific evidence suggested that, if anything, moderate consumption of coffee was beneficial to heart health.
“Sugars” are banned by the diet, along with honey, but maple syrup is allowed (although it contains a very high level of sucrose, i.e., sugar).
As might be expected, the sweetener aspartame is demonized, since it is said to “form methanol and formaldehyde in the body and produce numerous side effects.”
Methanol is very toxic in high doses, but traces occur naturally in many fruit and vegetables.
Using aspartame as a sweetener doesn’t increase the average levels of methanol in the body to a dangerous level. Any remains of formaldehyde from aspartame would derive from traces of methanol, so again the amount won’t be significantly higher than that the methanol obtained from natural fruits and vegetables.
To better cope with this significant change in our diet we must also know the foods that we can eat, since they do not contain gluten, and are as follows:
- Buckwheat (not true wheat)
- Nuts (make sure they have not added any flour)
- Milk and dairy products (cheeses)
On the other hand, some foods can be very beneficial, and therefore we will try to make them part of our daily diet.
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, canon, chard, etc.
- Cruciferae: Cabbage, broccoli, broccoli, turnip
- Flaxseed milled or in first cold pressure oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Green Tea
Foods that make the disease worse.
Many women have noticed a significant improvement by removing some foods from their usual diet. These are the most harmful:
- Red meat and sausages
- Hydrogenated or trans fats, containing margarine, industrial pastries, etc.
- Sugar and sugary foods
- Alcoholic drinks
In general, we will reduce the consumption of processed foods, and that contain artificial additives.
In addition to following the feeding tips, these supplements can be very beneficial to complete the treatment:
- Magnesium: This mineral is highly beneficial for our overall health. In this article, we explain its importance and how to take it.
- Grape seed extract: Its high content of antioxidants is very beneficial for this disease.
- Sauzgatillo (vitex agnus-castus): we will take it for at least three months, since it requires prolonged treatment, although then the benefits are also long-term.
- Dong Quai: an excellent Asian plant for all types of female disorders.
- Dandelion: This medicinal plant is an excellent depurative of the liver and kidney. We can take it as an infusion or as a supplement.
We always recommend consulting with a medical specialist before any treatment, since even natural supplements also have contraindications and side effects.
Women with endometriosis should follow strict medical supervision during pregnancy.
Cutting down on red meat and eating more vegetables are proper steps to take to improve your general health; these changes may reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.
Some people may benefit from a gluten-free diet. There seems to be little reason to go beyond these sensible steps.
There is no evidence that dairy products make endometriosis worse; in fact, they seem to make the condition less likely to occur.