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You may see ads or stories on the internet, in magazines, and even personal blogs that claim certain vitamins and herbs help to treat endometriosis. The truth is, there are no published scientific studies that prove that extra supplements improve endometriosis symptoms. It is important to remember that some herbs such as ginseng can actually interfere with medications that treat endometriosis because they contain plant—estrogen. It is always best to talk with your health care provider first before taking any over—the—counter herbs. Probably not. In fact, exercise may actually improve endometriosis symptoms.

Daily exercise about 60 minutes each day such as walking, swimming, dancing, or other activities will help you maintain a healthy weight and give you energy. Occasionally, very active exercise such as running and jumping may bring on or increase endometriosis symptoms or other medical conditions. Managing Your Endometriosis. Chat with us! Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and is particularly high in oranges.

The oestrogen logic

Vitamin E is found in foods like almonds and spinach. Studies have also suggested that vitamin D may protect against endometriosis onset, although other studies have found it to have no significant effect on pain and other symptoms 44 , Vitamin D is found in fortified foods, fatty fish, and egg yolks. More human studies are needed to know the safest and most effective vitamin doses for endometriosis.

Speak with your doctor before beginning any new vitamin or supplement. Women with endometriosis may be at higher risk for iron-deficiency anemia due to heavy menstrual periods 46 , Symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, headache, shortness of breath, pale skin, weakness, irregular heart beat, and cold hands and feet.

Your doctor may recommend supplements to help boost your iron levels. Diet changes can also help to improve iron status for those who are anemic. Other diet sources of iron include seafood, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified grain products. More research is needed to know if higher dose supplements would affect endometriosis Magnesium is an element with many important functions in the body, including nerve and muscle regulation.

Three small studies have found magnesium to be more effective in reducing menstrual pain than placebo 50 , 51 , 52 , Few adverse effects were reported in these studies, but supplemental magnesium may cause diarrhea, drowsiness, or other symptoms in some. Magnesium deficiency is quite common, with nearly half of Americans consuming less than the RDA. Magnesium supplements can help ensure that daily needs are met Summary: Thiamine, magnesium, and vitamins C, D, and E have been reported to ease pain in endometriosis. Iron may be necessary for women with heavy periods.

Ask your doctor if you might benefit from supplements. Several alternative therapies have shown some promising results for treating endometriosis. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in certain foods and supplements.


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Recent research suggests that imbalances in gut bacteria may trigger or worsen endometriosis by altering estrogen and stem cell activity. The bacteria Lactobacilli seems to play a key role in restoring a healthy balance. Studies of rhesus monkeys with endometriosis showed lower levels of these bacteria compared to healthy monkeys 55 , One small study found the probiotic strain Lactobacillus gasseri to significantly reduce the total weight and surface area of endometrial implants in female mice.

The effects of L. A lower value is better. Click to enlarge. The exact reason for this is unknown.

What should you eat if you have endometriosis?

Researchers believe that L. One small study has suggested that it may also help reduce the size of endometrial implants, at least in rodents. One group of rats with induced endometriosis received injections of melatonin at a dose of 10 milligrams per kilogram of body weight every day for 4 weeks. The rats were then euthanized, and endometrial implants were measured.

Compared to controls who were euthanized before melatonin treatment rats who received the injections had significantly smaller and fewer implants Small human studies have also found melatonin to improve endometriosis symptoms, and particularly pain and use of pain medications. The effective dose in this study was 10 mg per day for 8 weeks Larger human studies are needed to know if melatonin is safe and effective for endometriosis patients. Traditional Chinese medicine TCM is used in many parts of the world as a complement to standard medical care.

Patient testimonials indicate that TCM may provide symptom relief in endometriosis. But scientific evidence is somewhat limited. Acupuncture One review of 3 studies found that acupuncture improved pain and quality of life for volunteers. Women in this review received up to 16 treatments either once or twice a week for minutes per session And another study of 67 women with endometriosis found acupuncture to greatly improve menstrual pain Acupuncture is generally well-tolerated with few side effects and may be worth a try for those dealing with pain.

Herbal preparations have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to treat various conditions.

The Best Foods to Eat and Avoid When You Have Endometriosis

One review of 2 small studies found traditional herbal preparations to reduce menstrual pain more effectively than hormonal drugs commonly used in endometriosis. No improvements were seen in rectal, back, or vaginal pain Medicinal herbs interact with many medications and are not appropriate for those with certain health conditions. There are smaller amounts in plant-based foods such as canola and flaxseed oil, and green vegetables.

Read more: Why Australian dietary recommendations on fat need to change.

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The study also showed those women with the highest intake of trans-fats were more likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis. Trans fats occur naturally in animal foods such as butter, milk and meat and they are also found in commercially prepared fried and baked foods. This could explain the stories of women who found reducing dairy intake, helped their symptoms. In , a review of 12 studies , including 74, women, looked at the relationship between diet and endometriosis. The results in this paper were consistent with the paper in , making the evidence for the protective properties of omega-3 fatty acids more rigorous.

However, another review of 11 studies on endometriosis and diet was inconsistent with the above findings. This one showed that women with endometriosis seemed to consume fewer vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids; and more red meat, coffee and trans fats. Then, in , an analysis of the evidence of diet on the development and progression of endometriosis said something else again. It showed that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory effects and increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, were found to exert a protective effect on developing endometriosis and possibly regressed the disease.

Read more: Whole grains are better for you but they're no panacea. Some women claim their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet. It should be noted though, that while the findings are statistically significant, the number of participants in this study is very small.

Endometriosis Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid

The relationship between vitamin D with its anti-inflammatory properties in the development of endometriosis has also been looked at. One paper concluded that endometriosis may be influenced by vitamin D intake but that it was difficult to illustrate due to sparse evidence from human studies. Read more: Should you be worried about getting enough vitamin D?


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  • Another study investigated whether dairy foods and Vitamin D blood levels were associated with endometriosis. Researchers looked at 1, cases of confirmed endometriosis, intake of dairy foods and the nutrients in dairy foods, and predicted Vitamin D status for each participant.