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10 Foods to Avoid with Endometriosis | Treating your Endometriosis

10 Foods to Avoid with Endometriosis

There are certain foods to avoid with endometriosis.  In fact, many women who suffer from endometriosis can improve their condition and their symptoms naturally by simply controlling their diet.  Knowing what not to eat can make a significant difference in the way an endometriosis sufferer feels.

Creating an endometriosis friendly diet is about eliminating foods that increase prostaglandins.  Prostaglandins stimulate estrogen, which is the main hormone that wreaks havoc in an endometriosis sufferer.  Estrogen is responsible for symptoms including painful menstrual cramps, as well as meorrhagia (heavy menses), diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

However, when you learn what foods to avoid with endometriosis, you will discover that not all prostaglandin are bad.  For instance, prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) actually helps to relieve symptoms, while prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and prostaglandin F2a (PGF2a) contribute to the symptoms mentioned above.

The following are 10 foods to avoid with endometriosis –

1. Sugar – Sugar, in all its forms (refined, artificial, natural), can produce a more acidic environment which can encourage the inflammatory pain of endometriosis.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to limit the consumption of chocolate, sweeteners, drinks and sweets with high levels of sugar, and honey.

2. Wheat – Wheat contains phytic acid which can aggravate endometriosis symptoms.  Furthermore, wheat contains gluten, and studies have found that many endometriosis sufferers appear to have gluten sensitivity which can cause and increase painful symptoms.  Products containing wheat and gluten should be avoided or limited.

3. Soy products – Like wheat, soy contains phytic acid; however the levels of phytic acid in soy are considerably higher than wheat.  Phytic acid is known to irritate the digestive system and reduces mineral absorption, especially calcium.  Soy is found in many food products including granola, pasta, imitation meat, soy milk, soy based cheese, etc.

4. Caffeine – Caffeine, especially when consumed in high amounts, has been found to increase estrogen levels, which can trigger endometriosis attacks and cause the condition to develop. Caffeine foods to avoid with endometriosis include coffee, tea and soda.  Consuming more than two cups of coffee a day may cause estrogen levels to rise.
5. Alcohol – Alcohol eats up vitamin B stored in the liver.  Liver function plays an essential role in clearing out excess estrogen which helps to control endometriosis.  Eliminating alcohol from the body puts excessive stress on the liver, hindering it from expelling other items from the body. 

6. Dairy products – Dairy products stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a, which can worsen symptoms. The primary dairy foods that you should avoid with endometriosis include milk and cheeses. To help keep calcium levels up you can find other sources of calcium in sesame seeds, almonds, salmon, sardines, seaweed, figs, and calcium fortified foods (I.E. tofu, orange juice, etc.) Note:  Remember to be careful when substituting dairy products such as pasteurized milk with soy milk, as soy can also aggravate symptoms.

7. Red Meat – Meat promotes PGF2a production.  Furthermore, red meat may contain growth hormones that include estrogen.  If meat is your main source of protein, you can obtain the protein you need through other protein-rich foods such as beans, tofu, tempeh, walnuts, cashews, chestnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and peanuts.

8. Saturated fats and oils – Foods that are high in fatty acids stimulate the production of PGE2 and PGF2a.  Fatty acids are found in saturated fats, oils (IE coconut oil, palm oil, etc.), butter, margarine, lard, organ meats, and plenty of fried foods.

9. Refined carbohydrates – refined carbohydrates (I.E. white bread, pasta, flour, pastry, cakes, etc.) have had most of their natural nutrients removed.  Refined carbohydrates deplete the body’s nutritional stores as they are needed in order for the body to absorb the nutrients in the refined carbs.  This can lead to endometriosis symptoms.  Instead of refined carbs, stick to unrefined carbohydrates such as wholegrain breads, pasta, rice, etc.

10. Additives and preservatives – processed, frozen and pre-packaged are foods to avoid with endometriosis as they are full of additives, preservatives chemicals, and many other ingredients that promote ill-health and PGE2 and PGF2. 

If you’ve not already done so, sign up for the free endometriosis newsletter that shares other proven methods to help women combat endometriosis at Treating Your Endometriosis. You’ll also find more about the different stages of endometriosis and how get diagnosed.

2 Responses

  1. March 3rd, 2007 | 6:18 pm

    All those foods are practically everything I eat and love, not the real bad things, but alot of them are good for you, like almonds, MILK, cheese, honey, chocolate, orange juice, soy, alot which contain CALCIUM, which I need very much of, due to I have lost alot of my bone denisty due to taking lupron and depro shots to help ease my endometriosis symptoms. what am I supposed to do?? APRIL

  2. Nat Horsting
    March 4th, 2007 | 6:04 pm

    I have been having terrible IBS and get all the symptoms of Endometriosis. I am seeing a doctor next week. My question is could the symtoms of just IBS be mistaken for endometriosis or is the vomiting, nausea, heavy periods, tiredness and awful cramping directing me toward a greater problem? I am finding that EVERYTHING I eat gives me problems - bloating and some pain….I have tried to lower my intake of these”problem” foods you mention but have always had a reaction to wheat, dairy, soy so never ate that much of it. What else can you suggest?

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