Busting myths about the endometriosis diet
Following on from my last blog on things I wish I’d known about endometriosis, this blog busts some myths about the endometriosis diet.
Nutritional therapy will not cure endo…
I think it’s important to say that there is no cure for endo – whether that’s nutritional therapy, other alternative therapies, surgery, hormone treatment or other medications. I sometimes see things on social media claiming to treat or cure endo and I think that raises unfair expectations for people who are generally feeling pretty desperate to find a way of getting rid of their symptoms. At the peak of my endo, I’d have tried (and did try!) anything in the hope of feeling slightly better than I did.
…but nutritional therapy can help to reduce and manage endo symptoms
Whilst we cannot get rid of endo, there are a number of strategies nutritional therapy can use to reduce and help you manage your endo symptoms. By assessing where the imbalances are in the body that are causing the symptoms, we can try to reduce and address these through diet, supplements and lifestyle changes. Both my own experience and those of other people I’ve worked with is that nutrition can make a big difference to all the symptoms you can get with endo, and I know when I started out on this journey, even a small improvement was worth it given how bad I was feeling. Although the research evidence on endo and nutrition is not huge in comparison to the research you get on drug trials, there is also research to back up the impact of nutrition on endo symptoms.
Change will not happen overnight
Endo symptoms usually build up over a number of years and by the time someone seeks help from a nutritional therapist, the problems have usually become quite entrenched. This means we cannot get rid of them overnight. We are all different and so able to make changes at a different pace and our bodies will also respond to things differently. Some people might notice improvements after a month, for others it might be three months before they notice any difference. Even then it is likely to be a slow gradual process of further improvement as we find out what works for you. By the time I sought help from a nutritional therapist I’d had symptoms for over ten years and my body was a mess. It therefore took a while for me to notice an improvement and I certainly had a few ups and downs along the way. I am not symptom free now, but things are massively different to how they were. I’m down to mild pain on two days a month compared to constant day and night pain for three years at the peak of my endo. Yes, I still get a flare-up occasionally but now this is usually down to me getting over-tired, stressed or eating too many of the foods that I know don’t agree with me.
Nutritional therapy does not have to mean harsh exclusion diets
When I first saw a nutritional therapist, I was put on quite a difficult exclusion diet, which was made all the more difficult as I didn’t have the energy and felt too ill to re-think everything I ate. Just the word endo ‘diet’ can be off-putting as this suggest losing foods you enjoy and doing something restrictive. I can honestly say that now I’ve found a way of eating that works for me it doesn’t feel restrictive at all. I’m a real foodie and love cooking and trying new foods and don’t feel like I’m missing out. Hence my approach to nutritional therapy is more flexible. Yes, it may mean taking a food out for a month or so to see if it makes a difference to your symptoms, but I will always help you to find alternatives that I’ve tried and tested. Often it is trial and error to see which foods may trigger your symptoms, and usually it is not the long list of foods that you see as banned in some literature about the endo diet. It may just mean eating some foods less frequently and increasing other types of food that are anti-inflammatory. Even if a food is on the trigger list for you, an occasional amount for birthdays or special occasions is not the end of the world.
Nutritional therapy does not have to mean cooking everything from scratch or cooking separate meals to the rest of your family
I have been there, sometimes you just do not have the energy to cook from scratch and that’s fine. I have a number of quick and easy meal suggestions for those days when you really can’t face cooking that are still endo friendly and give you plenty of nutrients. I also understand that the changes you make need to work for the rest of your family too, so you don’t have to cook separate meals. We can also work around that and find alternatives that everyone can eat.
Nutritional therapy does not have to mean making massive changes all at once
People often say that one of the things that puts them off nutritional therapy is the amount to change they will have to make. I do a detailed assessment of your current diet; food likes and dislikes before an appointment. We then build on this and increase the anti-inflammatory foods that are already in your diet. Often there are simple changes that can help you get a better nutrient boost, for example changing to a different brand, so we will start with the easy changes. We will also work at a pace that suits you. Some people like to make lots of change at once, but some prefer to make small changes altering just one or two things a week. Either approach is fine and that’s why I have a range of nutrition packages tailored to the level of support you need.
You can find out more about foods that can help with endometriosis pain in my free e-book.
If you would like to find out more about how nutritional therapy could help with endometriosis, do book in for a free no obligation hormone health review.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Emma Belton Nutrition disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.