Endometriosis Diet: What you should and should not eat on an endometriosis diet

Firstly, why I need to follow an endometriosis diet: In May 2010, after dealing with considerable pelvic pain, I had a diagnostic laparoscopy and was diagnosed with endometriosis. I decided to fight my endometriosis through pregnancy and breastfeeding for as long as possible. My pain improved considerably while I was pregnant with my daughter (E); however, retained placenta following her delivery resulted in two D&C’s and antibiotics for infections. My OB prescribed a high dose of estrogen for a month to help prevent intrauterine scarring and infertility. This caused major pain as endometriosis and estrogen are not friends. During this time I tried an endometriosis diet to see if it really works. And it does for me!

Foods you can eat while on an endometriosis diet

After I finished my month-long regime of taking an estrogen pill typically used on postmenopausal women (I was prescribed a drug called Premarin, if you’re curious), I had some bleeding and a lot of pain. Thankfully once my bleeding stopped and my breastfeeding hormones were allowed to take over, the pain subsided to a manageable level. To undo some of the damage that I’m sure was done to my poor body as a result of this necessary evil, I decided to investigate which foods help and which foods aggravate endometriosis. I honestly believe that diet has a huge impact when it comes to a lot of chronic conditions.

endometriosis diet

Most of my Internet research told me which foods to cut out as part of an endometriosis diet (non-organic foods, soy, wheat, dairy, red meat, sugar, additives, and preservatives), but didn’t give a lot of information about what I could eat. I found two excellent resources with a lot of information about what to eat if you have endometriosis. Both resources include recipe ideas for women following an endometriosis diet:

1. The Infertility Cure by Randine Lewis
I bought this book two years ago when trying to get pregnant with MC after a complicated miscarriage (the book describes different strategies for treating infertility using Traditional Chinese Medicine). I love this book and consulted it again when my endometriosis became very painful following the estrogen therapy (there is an entire chapter devoted to the treatment of endometriosis and fibroids). According to The Infertility Cure, I can eat fish, walnuts, dark greens, root vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids, along with a range of other foods that are specific to my personal symptoms.

2. Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet by Carolyn Levett
I downloaded and printed the e-book version of this resource. It’s full of recipes and information as to why/why not certain foods can be eaten. In particular, I found Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet helpful for planning the day-to-day meals and snacks for my family. We have tried (and love) some of the recipes for breads using alternatives to wheat flour along with various side dishes. According to this book (which agrees with a lot of the principles listed in The Infertility Cure), I can eat apples, berries, nuts and seeds, peas, beans, carrots, raisins, dates, decaffeinated green tea, and whole grains (excluding wheat). Plain “live” yogurt with active bacterial cultures is the one exception to the no-dairy rule.

Basically, I’m now eating a high-fibre diet that includes a wide variety of whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, oats, rice, popcorn, spelt, etc) and is rich in fruits and vegetables. My protein comes primarily from nuts and seeds (with the odd meal of fish). I drink almond milk and add plain yogurt to some recipes for calcium.

But . . .

Is it realistic to stick to an endometriosis diet all the time?

For me, no. Fortunately, I live with a family of health-nuts and this type of diet is not a drastic change for us, so we’ve decided that most of the meals we eat on a daily basis will follow an endometriosis-friendly diet. When out somewhere as a family or having a meal with friends, we eat whatever is available/being served. Thus, I’ve been following the endometriosis diet about 80% of the time. It’s enough to keep the excruciating pain at bay for now.

Will I continue on my endometriosis diet?

Yes, unless my pain becomes significantly worse, I’ll stick to my same goal of adhering to this diet 70-80% of the time. I definitely have an increase in my pain when I eat inflammatory foods, but I like not feeling deprived or as though I’m inconveniencing people with my food needs when out with friends. I wouldn’t say it’s a cure-all for endometriosis, but following the advice of the above resources has made a noticeable difference for me.

If you have endometriosis (or any other chronic health condition),
have you tried an elimination diet?

Has it made a difference for you?

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose here. This article is unsponsored and I’m simply sharing my experience using resources I bought or located on my own. None of the links in this post are affiliate links. Also, I am not a doctor by any stretch of the imagination so the information here should never replace your doctor or alternative health practitioner’s advice.

Comments

  1. Kathryn Keichinger says

    Glad to hear that it’s helping! And I’m glad to hear M and K like the food. My little girl is on a cracker and pasta diet. It is near impossible to convince her to eat anything remotely healthy!!!

  2. says

    I think I’m on this diet maybe 20% of the time – I just find it so hard in a family that really doesn’t share my love of random other food. If I lived on my own, I could do it, no problem – and would even enjoy exploring it – but my husband likes steak and potatoes on his plate – the less colour the better. Alexys will eat whatever, but then I’m not making 2 different meals everyday. We do 100% avoid soy if we can and perhaps next year (:D) I’ll try this out again!

  3. Lisa says

    Although I wasn’t suffering from much pain, my endomitriosis did cause heavy bleeding. This motivated me to adhere quite strictly to a no dairy, no wheat, no red meat, no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine diet for three and half months. After the first month, I didn’t notice any improvement, but I stayed faithful to the diet and then to my delight, my problems disappeared!

    • says

      I definitely agree. If I can stay faithful to my endo diet for a couple months, I feel amazing. It’s tough to stick to it, but it makes such a difference for me.

  4. Yolanda says

    The endo diet has really helped me. I’ve been on it a year now that, and being on bc continuously, has really helped my symptoms. I can’t remember the last time I felt this well. I’m also starting to go to he gym regularly. Although sometimes it feels really difficult to be on this diet, it was especially hard in the beginning, I remind myself that there are many other people suffering pain from various conditions, mine could at least be managed with diet.

  5. says

    I am a teenager that has just been recently diagnosed with endo and have a lot of trouble trying to manage my pain. I feel like I can’t keep up with senior year school demands, and I’m also being effected socially because I feel like I never have any energy. I am a big believer in that your diet plays a major role in the healing of your body, so I am am going to attempt the endo diet and stick to it as much as I can – I have a very supportive family that like healthy food, so hopefully they will help me through it. I would like to thank all the people out there on the internet that have shared their stories and advice – suffering endometriosis this young can sometimes make you feel alone and isolated and its not always easy to talk about.

Trackbacks

  1. […] The family says . . . Approved (and suggested as a great choice for a summer salad)! Being that this recipe is super-simple to make, I’m going to add it to our weekly dinner menu (my goal is to eventually have a rotation of easy-to-make, healthy recipes that can be made in a matter of minutes, adhere to the 4 Pillars of Healthy Eating, and are suitable for an endometriosis diet). […]

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