In endometriosis, the lining of the uterus also grows outside the uterus. Eating the right diet can reduce pain and inflammation.
Berlin/Düsseldorf – Five to 15 percent of all women of reproductive age are estimated to be affected by endometriosis, as the Robert Koch Institute explains. In endometriosis, tissue that resembles the lining of the uterus, also known as the endometrium, also forms outside the uterus – for example in the peritoneum, on the fallopian tubes and ovaries or in the wall of the intestine and bladder.
Just like the lining of the womb, the endometrium grows and bleeds throughout the menstrual cycle. This can lead to pain. The fact that endometriosis is present is often overlooked; according to the RKI, the diagnosis is only made after six years on average. A complete cure is not possible. Pain-relieving therapies often have side effects. However, those affected can also influence the severity of their symptoms themselves through diet. This is explained by the NDR or the Düsseldorf University Clinic on the basis of various studies. The advice largely corresponds to the recommendations of the German Society for Nutrition eV (DGE), which are based on current scientific knowledge.
Endometriosis: Certain foods can reduce inflammation
Since the symptoms are also related to inflammation of the endometrium, anti-inflammatory foods can provide relief. According to a study from Spain, cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli and red cabbage can reduce inflammation in endometriosis. They also influence the water balance in the tissue, which reduces swelling and thus symptoms. According to the recommendation of the DGE, those affected should eat “5 a day” – i.e. three portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit.
|Endometriosis – these foods can help|
|Three servings of vegetables per day, especially cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, red cabbage, broccoli|
|Two servings of fruit a day|
|Fish, Seaweed, Nuts|
|Rapeseed, olive, linseed oil|
As the University Hospital Düsseldorf and the NDR advise according to a study from São Paulo, foods with polyunsaturated fatty acids can also help, these are mainly found in fish, algae and nuts. Rapeseed, olive and linseed oil also contain corresponding omega-3 and -6 fats
Pro-inflammatory foods should reduce endometriosis sufferers
However, the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid should be avoided. It is mainly found in pork. Due to such pro-inflammatory substances, sufferers should generally reduce their meat consumption, especially red meat and sausage can promote inflammation.
According to studies, as explained by the University Hospitals in Düsseldorf and Erlangen, sugar and salt should also be avoided in order not to promote inflammation. Sweets, pastries, white flour products and foods sweetened with sugar are not recommended. Instead, those affected should drink around 1.5 liters of water or unsweetened tea per day. Wheat is also pro-inflammatory in some people.
Endometriosis pain: reduce histamine
In addition to inflammatory foods, those affected should also reduce histamines – because according to the medical journal these can increase painful contractions in the uterus. It is best to adapt the diet to the cycle. A week before and during the period, foods containing histamine such as chocolate, red wine, tomatoes, spinach, avocados, mature cheese and sausages should be avoided.
To what extent such extensive changes in diet really help can be checked with the help of an elimination diet for a good four weeks and a nutrition and symptom diary. Professional or medical support may be advisable. (tk)
The information given in this article does not replace a visit to a doctor. Only experts can make the right diagnosis and initiate appropriate therapy. The intake of medication or dietary supplements should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.