Reducing endometriosis pain
Endometriosis causes high levels of inflammation – and that’s what causes the pain that comes with this debilitating disease. Research has shown that women with endometriosis have high levels of inflammatory prostaglandins in their peritoneum.
There are a number of foods that can help reduce levels of inflammation in the body and so help with endometriosis pain. These include:
- Fruit and vegetables – these are full of antioxidants which can reduce inflammation, along with vitamins and minerals which can help reduce pain, balance hormones levels and support energy levels.
- Spices such as ginger and turmeric – both of which can reduce inflammation. Research has shown that turmeric can help reduce endometriosis growth.
- Omega 3 rich foods such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and herring), chia seeds and walnuts. There is plenty of research demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3, including on endometriosis pain.
- Vitamin E rich foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds and extra virgin olive oil also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Vitamin E can also reduce hot flushes that may come with hormonal treatments.
There are also some foods that increase inflammation, so it is worth reducing these foods and seeing if it makes a difference to your endometriosis symptoms:
- Red meat and processed meats such as ham, salami and sausages.
- Dairy produce – as well as being inflammatory, dairy can also introduce another source of hormones into the body.
- Unhealthy fats such as those found in vegetable oils, margarines and trans fats found in biscuits and cakes.
- Processed foods, which are also low in the nutrients needed to reduce inflammation.
- Sugar, which can also worsen symptoms such as thrush and urinary tract infections.
- Gluten (wheat, rye and barley) – women with endometriosis have higher levels of gluten intolerance than women without endometriosis (Schink et al. 2019). Research has shown a reduction in endometriosis pain in women who went gluten free (Marziali et al. 2012).
I found that focusing on anti-inflammatory foods and reducing inflammatory foods made a difference to my own endometriosis symptoms. I know that when you are starting out with making changes to your diet it can feel quite overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. That’s why I have put together a selection of recipes that are designed to reduce inflammation, balance hormones and support the liver, so helping to reduce your endometriosis pain. Download your free copy here.
Reducing inflammation is just one part of my endometriosis management plan, which also focuses on:
- Making sure your gut is healthy, so oestrogen is excreted from the body and not re-circulated.
- Supporting the liver so oestrogen is safely detoxified, and the liver can manage the effects of any medications or painkillers used.
- Balancing hormone levels to reduce the oestrogen dominance that can drive endometriosis.
- Reducing the stress and fatigue that are so debilitating and can be a big part of living with endometriosis.
If you would help more help with putting together a plan to manage your endometriosis symptoms do get in touch. I offer free, no obligation discovery calls to talk through how nutritional therapy may be able to help you.
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.
Deutch, B. Jørgensen, E. B. Hansen, J. C. (2000). ‘Menstrual discomfort in Danish women reduced by dietary supplements of omega-3 PUFA and B12 (fish oil or seal oil capsules)’, Nutrition Research, 20(5), pp.621-631.
East-Powell, M. & Reid, R. (2019). ‘Medical synopsis: Antioxidant supplementation may support reduction in pelvic pain in endometriosis’, Advances in Integrative Medicine, 6(4), pp.181-182.
Fjerbæk, A. & Knudsen, U. B. (2007). ‘Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and diet—What is the evidence?’, European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, 132(2), pp.140-147.
Harlev, A. Gupta, S. Agarwal, A. (2015). ‘Targeting oxidative stress to treat endometriosis’, Expert opinion on therapeutic targets, 19(11), pp.1447-1464.
Marziali, M. Venza, M. Lazzaro, S. et al. (2012). ‘Gluten-free diet: a new strategy for management of painful endometriosis related symptoms?’, Minerva chirurgica, 67(6), pp.499-504.
Mohammadi, R. K. & Arablou, T. (2017). ‘Resveratrol and endometriosis: In vitro and animal studies and underlying mechanisms’, Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 91, pp.220-228.
Santanam, N. Kavtaradze, N. Murphy, A. et al. (2013). ‘Antioxidant supplementation reduces endometriosis-related pelvic pain in humans’, Translational Research, 161(3), pp.189-195.
Schink, M. Konturek, P. C. Herbert, S. L. et al. (2019). ‘Different nutrient intake and prevalence of gastrointestinal comorbidities in women with endometriosis’, Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 70(2), pp.255-268.