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Could the food I eat affect my endometriosis pain?

Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition in which endometrial-like tissue develops outside of the uterus. In normal healthy situations, endometrial tissue that develops inside the uterus will shed during menstruation. However, when the tissue develops outside the uterus, the tissue becomes trapped and can attach to organs, create scar tissue, and create adhesions. During every menstrual cycle, when hormones change, the endometrial tissues can become inflamed since they are trapped and have no way of exiting the body.

This inflammation which occurs during each menstrual cycle can cause pain and discomfort, development of adhesions, and scar tissue. Scar tissue and adhesions can cause disturbances in bowel function, bladder function, and sexual function. Since there is no cure for endometriosis, managing inflammation is key in managing symptoms. Research supports a specific anti-inflammatory diet.

In general, an anti-inflammatory diet includes foods that reduce C-reactive protein levels (inflammation markers) or foods that fight oxidative stress (an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body). An anti-inflammatory diet includes the following:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes

  • Decrease red meat consumption

  • Increase antioxidants

    • Found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as berries, cherries, citrus fruits, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, dark, leafy greens

    • Also found in ginger, turmeric, green tea, vitamin E, vitamin C, cinnamon, garlic, onion

  • Increase omega-3 fatty acids

    • Found in fish, walnuts, pecans, almonds

    • Decrease intake of processed foods

  • Decrease intake of soda and drinks with sweeteners

  • Increase intake of polyphenols which are micronutrients that are found in plants

    • Found in dark chocolate, tea, berries, apples, citrus, coffee

  • Increase fiber intake because it helps decrease excess estrogen levels

    • Found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, flaxseed, whole grains

  • Make sure you are getting enough magnesium, calcium, and zinc in your diet

Managing pain and discomfort associated with endometriosis is partly accomplished through managing inflammation. If you have developed and bowel, bladder, or sexual discomforts associated with endometriosis, please reach out to Katy and Miranda at The Fit Pelvis to see if physical therapy can help you. You can schedule a Discovery Call today.

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