Endometriosis occurs when tissue that lines the woman’s uterus grows outside of the uterus. Read the blog to know about endometriosis diet.
This tissue acts like regular uterine tissue does during menstruation: it will break apart and bleed at the end of the cycle. But this blood has nowhere to go. Surrounding areas might get inflamed or swollen. You might have scar tissue and lesions.
Endometriosis mostly involves ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue that lines your pelvis. It is rare to find endometrial-like tissue beyond the area where pelvic organs are located.
With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue works as it would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
But because this tissue gets no way to exit your body, it is confined. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, endometriomas (cysts) might form.
The tissue around it can become irritated, finally developing scar tissue and adhesions — bands of fibrous tissue, which can cause pelvic tissues, and organs to stick to each other.
Endometriosis may cause pain, sometimes severe, especially during periods. Fertility problems might develop as well. Fortunately, effective treatments are available.
Types of Endometrioses
There are three main types of based on where it is:
- Superficial peritoneal lesion: it is the most common kind. You have lesions in your peritoneum, a thin film that lines your pelvic cavity
- Endometrioma (ovarian lesion): dark, fluid-filled cysts, also called chocolate cysts, form deep in your ovaries. They don’t respond well to treatment and may damage healthy tissue
- Deeply infiltrating endometriosis: This grows under your peritoneum and can involve organs near your uterus, such as your bowels or bladder. About 1% to 5% of women with endometriosis have this kind
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often accompanied by periods. Although many women may experience cramping during their periods, but those with endometriosis describe menstrual pain as being far worse than usual. Pain also may increase over time.
Common signs and symptoms of it include:
- Painful periods or dysmenorrhea- Pelvic pain and cramping may start before and extend several days into a period. You might also get lower back and abdominal pain.
- Pain with intercourse– Pain during or post sex is common with endometriosis.
- Pain with bowel movements or urination -you’re most likely to observe these symptoms during a menstrual period.
- Excessive bleeding – you may experience occasional heavy menstrual periods or bleeding between periods, which is also called intermenstrual bleeding.
- Infertility – sometimes, endometriosis is first diagnosed in those seeking treatment for infertility.
- Other symptoms that you might experience are fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods
The severity of your pain might not be a reliable indicator of the extent of your condition. You might have mild endometriosis with acute pain, or you might have advanced endometriosis with little or no pain at all.
Sometimes, endometriosis is mistaken for other illnesses that may cause pelvic pain like ovarian cysts or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It could be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal cramping. IBS might accompany endometriosis, which may complicate the diagnosis.
When do you need to seek a doctor for Diagnosis and Endometriosis Diet?
See the doctor if you observe the above symptoms which may indicate endometriosis. It can be a challenging condition to manage on your own. An early diagnosis, a multi-disciplinary clinical team, and an understanding of the diagnosis may better manage your symptoms.
Endometriosis Diet: What to eat during this?
Inflammation and high estrogen levels might worsen endometriosis symptoms, and the diet could influence both factors. Keep reading further to know what to eat and what not to. Let’s cover ‘what should you eat’ first.
- Fibre helps in removing excess estrogen: Estrogen is a primary hormone that the body needs for normal functioning. However, too much estrogen can aggravate endometriosis symptoms such as cramping and pain. That’s where including fiber-rich diet can help. Boost the fibre intake a by eating more:
- Eat raw or boiled fruits and vegetables
- Include ground flaxseed in smoothies or home-baked food items.
- Add legumes such as beans, lentils and chickpeas.
- Eat vegetables and whole grains, like whole-wheat pasta and even brown rice.
- Fats that help fight inflammation: Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, and as said inflammation makes symptoms worse for anyone. Omega-3 fats may help calm inflammation from endometriosis. The good food sources of omega-3s include:
- Fatty fish like sardines, salmon and tuna.
- Plant oils like canola oil and flaxseed oil
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds
Monounsaturated fats also have anti-inflammatory power, and it is found in:
- Nuts and seeds
- Olive oil
- Peanut butter
- Safflower oil
- Minerals help relax muscles and regulate the cycle: Apart from consuming calcium, include zinc and magnesium as they are also important minerals. Magnesium-packed foods include:
- Dark chocolate in small amounts.
- Leafy greens, like spinach.
- Legumes, like black beans.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Zinc-rich food includes:
- Crabs, oysters, and lobsters
Endometriosis Diet: Foods to avoid
Certain food items might worsen endometriosis pain due to rise in inflammation or estrogen levels. Limit or avoid:
- Alcohol: Wine, beer, and spirits
- Caffeine: Coffee and tea
- Fatty meat: Limit the overall saturated fat intake to 10% of the daily calories need
- Processed foods: Many packaged foods contain pro-inflammatory ingredients such as added sugar, saturated fat, and trans-fat and are low in fiber, zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats
- Sugary drinks: Fruit juices, sodas and energy drinks are high in sugar, and worsen inflammation
What is the difference between endometriosis and PCOS?
The tissue that lines the uterus is known as the endometrium. Endometriosis occurs when endometrium grows in other parts of the body. The condition is associated with elevated levels of estradiol, a type of estrogen.
Endometriosis typically affects reproductive organs, such as:
- outside of the uterus
- fallopian tubes
- uterosacral ligaments
- anywhere between the bladder, uterus, and vagina
It may also affect areas outside the pelvic cavity, including the:
- large and small intestines
The tissue may thicken and bleed during the menstrual cycle, like the tissue in the uterus. This can cause pain, inflammation, and infertility.
- irregular or no periods
- elevated levels of androgens
- cysts in one or both ovaries
If a woman is suffering from PCOS, they are likely to have at least two of the above conditions. It is possible indication of PCOS without ovarian cysts as well.
What are the treatment options for endometriosis?
Treatment for endometriosis usually involves medication or surgery. The approach the doctor chooses may depend on how severe the signs and symptoms are.
Doctors typically recommend trying conservative treatment approaches, and probably opt for surgery if initial treatment fails. The following are some of the treatment options available:
- Pain medication
The doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium to help ease painful menstrual cramps.
- Hormone therapy
Supplemental hormones are sometimes effective in lessening or eliminating the pain caused due to endometriosis. The hormonal imbalance during the menstrual cycle causes endometrial implants to thicken, break down, and bleed.
- Fertility treatment
Endometriosis may lead to trouble conceiving. Fertility treatment ranges from stimulating the ovaries and making a greater number of eggs to in vitro fertilization. The treatment option that best suits a need of a patient depends on the personal situation and body condition.
- Hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries
Surgery to remove the uterus (hysterectomy) and ovaries (oophorectomy) was once considered the most effective treatment for endometriosis. But endometriosis experts are moving away from this approach. Instead, they are focusing on the careful and thorough removal of all endometriosis tissue.
Finding an expert with whom a woman feels comfortable is crucial in managing and treating endometriosis. Patients may want to get a second opinion before starting any treatment to be sure that all the options and the possible results are considered.
Endometriosis can be tough and severely complicated, although taking basic steps such as being precautious with what to eat and what cannot help long.
Talking to an expert is essential to help understand the body and its condition. Before going for any therapy or picking up a certain food, speak to our specialist today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How common is endometriosis?
These conditions are common. However, there are few research materials for adenomyosis as it is not studied extensively and is difficult to diagnose.
What is the cause of endometriosis?
The following are the causes of endometriosis:
- Between the age of 30 to 40
- Family history
- Heavy periods that last more than 7 days
- Period cycle is less than 27 days
- Onset of menstruation before the age of 11
Is this condition curable with a proper Endometriosis Diet?
With the right diet and the correct medication, this condition can be easily managed.