top of page

Endometriosis: what to eat and what to avoid

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Endometriosis is a common condition that affects millions of individuals assigned female at birth worldwide.

While there is no known cure for endometriosis, certain foods may help alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.

In this blog, we'll explore the best foods to eat and those to avoid for managing endometriosis.

We'll cover dietary tips such as increasing fiber intake, avoiding inflammatory foods, and incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

With this helpful guide, you can make informed choices about the foods you eat to help manage your symptoms and improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Endometriosis is a chronic, non-cancerous condition where cells that resemble the uterus lining, called endometrial cells, grow outside the uterus. The tissue that lines the uterus is called the endometrium. This is where the condition’s name comes from.

In the United States, the condition affects 1 in 10 individuals assigned female at birth during their reproductive years.

Endometriosis is often a painful disorder that takes place primarily in the pelvic area. Though not impossible, it’s rare for this tissue to spread further than the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and tissues lining the area of the pelvis.

A few of the symptoms of this condition tend to be worse around menstruation periods. Signs and symptoms include:

  • pelvic pain

  • increased pain during periods and intercourse

  • pain with bowel movements and urination

  • heavy periods, or bleeding between periods

  • fatigue

  • diarrhea

  • bloating

  • constipation

  • low back pain

  • intense cramping

If endometriosis is left untreated, it may lead to infertility.

While there is no cure for endometriosis, certain lifestyle changes, such as modifying your diet, can help manage its symptoms.

In this blog, we will explore the connection between endometriosis and food and provide you with a guide on what to eat and what to avoid to alleviate endometriosis symptoms.

By incorporating these dietary recommendations into your daily routine, you can take an active role in reducing the severity of your symptoms and improving your overall quality of life.

Foods that may negatively affect endometriosis

Certain lifestyle choices can influence the progression of endometriosis and increase the risk of developing it.

These choices can also have an effect on how painful or well-managed the disorder is.

Although further research needs to be done to fully correlate certain foods or lifestyle habits with the development or worsening of this condition, the following factors may negatively influence endometriosis:

  • A diet high in trans fat: Research has found higher rates of endometriosis diagnoses among those who consume more trans fat. Trans fat is found predominately in fried, processed, and fast foods.

  • Red meat consumption: Some research has shown an increased risk of endometriosis development with a high intake of red meat.

  • Gluten: One study involving 207 women with endometriosis showed 75 percent of them had a decrease in pain after eliminating gluten from their diet.

  • High-FODMAP foods: One study found symptoms significantly improved in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis who followed a low-FODMAP diet.

Foods that can influence hormone regulation, particularly estrogen balance, can negatively affect those with endometriosis.

In addition, avoid or limit foods that may promote inflammation in the body and lead to further pain or progression of the disorder. These foods include:

  • alcohol

  • caffeine

  • gluten

  • red meat

  • saturated and trans fat

Foods that may positively affect endometriosis

To fight inflammation and pain caused by endometriosis, it’s best to consume a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet that’s primarily plant-based and full of vitamins and minerals.

Add these to your diet:

  • fibrous foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains

  • iron-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans, fortified grains, nuts, and seeds

  • foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines, herring, trout, walnuts, chia, and flax seeds

  • antioxidant-rich foods found in colorful fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, berries, dark chocolate, spinach, and beets

Make sure you pay attention to how your body acts when you eat certain foods.

Keeping a journal of the foods you eat and any symptoms or triggers you have may be helpful.

Consider meeting with a registered dietitian. They can help you plan meals that work best with you and endometriosis, as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you are searching for a dietitian focused on helping manage endometriosis, sign up today for a first-of-its-kind platform to help holistically manage your endo.


bottom of page