Women's health is being affected by various hormonal problems, most prevalent being PCOD/PCOS. Recently, found another gynaecological condition affecting up to 10% of females is Endometriosis. This condition is characterised by the lining of the uterus known as endometrium growing outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue may expand to your ovaries, bowel or the tissues surrounding your pelvis. Also, the area becomes inflamed and painful, i.e. the tissue grows, thickens and breaks.
Symptoms of endometriosis
- Pelvic pain
- Painful periods
- Pain in the abdomen before and during the periods
- Cramps a week before and during periods
- Heavy menstruation
- Painful sexual intercourse
A good diet makes all the difference, and it first begins by eliminating foods which might contribute to inflammation.
Try eliminating these foods for at least a month and then feel the difference in your symptoms as some may aggravate the existing problem.
Foods to avoid
- Soybean & by-products as they offer compounds mimicking oestrogen
- Refined Carbohydrates
- Refined and artificial sugar
- Red meat
- Processed foods with trans fat
- Saturated fat like butter
Best Foods to include
- Magnesium-rich foods help soothe the uterus and reduce pain.
Sources - almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, bananas, spinach
- Iron-rich foods help replenish the loss of iron.
Sources - prunes, dates, ragi flour, green leafy vegetables
- Vitamin C as it helps assist in better absorption of iron
Sources - lemon, amla, oranges, guavas, bell peppers
- High fibre intake holds importance because constipation is the usual symptom faced, and it helps in reducing weight as well.
Sources - whole grains, cereals, vegetables, fruits, figs, okra, sprouts
- Omega 3 foods
These foods help reduce inflammation, relieve joint and muscle pain. It also helps regulate hormone production.
Sources - fatty fish: sardines, mackerel, salmon
Other sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds.
- Vitamin D
Its deficiency is associated with increased risk of autoimmune diseases.
Sources - pasteurised egg yolk, vitamin D fortified milk, fortified cereals
- Dark green leafy vegetables help provide nutrients like methionine, choline, folate, vitamin B6.
Sources - spinach, amaranth leaves, mustard greens
- Green Tea - The presence of EGCG, the primary antioxidant may help reduce the proliferation of fibrosis.
- Curcumin - It may help reduce certain inflammatory markers.
- Ginger Tea - It helps provide warmth and eases pain during the PMS phase.
Other lifestyle-related changes like exercising, especially yoga that help ease the symptoms. Staying physically active, stress-free and applying warm bottles, massaging with castor oil may help reduce painful periods.
To summarise, diet and lifestyle may help alter and manage the endometriosis problem better.
Soave, Ilaria & Occhiali, Tommaso & Wenger, Jean & Pluchino, Nicola & Caserta, Donatella & Marci, Roberto. (2018). Endometriosis and food habits: Can diet make the difference?. Journal of Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain Disorders. 10. 228402651877321. 10.1177/2284026518773212.