Here is my secret. The Endometriosis Diet (Endo Diet) that gave me pain relief. If you have not read about Part 1 of this article, click here.
- Endometriosis Diet for Menstrual Pain Relief - My Su...
The pain was excruciating. It felt like the end of the world and something fatal was growing inside my body. Diagnosed with endometriosis (ovarian cysts) and adenomyosis at the same time can be the worst...
1. HIGH FIBRE DIET – Hormone Estrogen Decreasing Food
Diet high in fibre can decrease the circulating estrogens. Ideally, raw fruits and vegetables should comprise 50 percent of the diet. Nuts and seeds, whole grains, should be included in the diet. Fibre-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables along with plenty of fluids such as water or juice, (not caffeine) are not only healthy but help prevent constipation. (Constipation intensifies the symptoms). High fibre food good for endometriosis are:
· whole grains (excluding wheat and rye)
· beans and peas
· brown rice
· any vegetable and fruits
· mustard greens
Broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprout (Cruciferous Vegetables) allow the liver to eliminate excess estrogen from the body more effectively.
Celery and parsley contain flavones that can inhibit aromatase, the enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens.
2. HORMONE REBALANCING FOOD
Foods containing natural plant sterols (phytoestrogens) are helpful to block the estrogen receptors, so in turn excess estrogen in the body cannot ‘lock-in’ to these receptors. These include:
- · peas, beans and pulses
- · red and purple berries
- · garlic
- · apples, papaya
- · parsley
- · fennel
- · brassicas: cabbage, cauliflower etc
- · nuts and seeds
- · celery, carrots, cabbage
- · rhubarb
- · sage
- · cucumber
- · beet root
- · barley, green beans, red beans
- · pumpkins
- · olive oil
- · plums
- · potatoes
I try to have at least three or four servings a day of green vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. They are great in balancing estrogen levels. I avoid white rice, any wheat noodle and pasta whenever possible and replace them with brown rice, potato, or sweet potatoes (kumera) instead. Cooking at home really helps, as I could avoid white rice and any wheat products totally. Yes, I follow gluten-free diet almost 99% of the time and macrobiotic diet 80% of the time.
I have also frequently read that some herbs containing beneficial plant hormones are black cohosh, dong quai, hops, sage, red clover, fennel, liquorice root, wild yam, bladderwrack, horstail herb, sarsaparilla. Since I do not know them well, I did not try them so far. I may visit a Chinese Traditional Medicine Practitioner to enquire more about it one day.
Dr. Dian Mills book on "Endometriosis : A Key to healing Through Nutrition"
Fish Oil for Endometriosis
Premium Fish Oil - With High Purity
3. SUPPLEMENTS FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS
In Dr. Dian Mills book on “Endometriosis”, she has shown through years of research, essential fatty acids, such as omega-6 fatty acids from linseed oil, fish omega 3 and evening primrose oil has been helpful in reducing painful period. These are natural fats - cis fatty acids. They have a horseshoe shape and lock into cell membranes and give them integrity. Omega-3 fatty acid helps in formation of positive prostaglandins that serves effectively for anti-inflammatory purpose, suppress womb contractions and reduce pain messenger to the brain.
People who consume a lot of processed foods are actually taking in the unnatural fat – trans fatty acids. These fats have been hydrogenated and their chemical structure and shapes have been changed. They don’t lock into cells in the same way as the natural fats. These trans fatty acids form a kink shape and the cell membrane loses its integrity. They have harmful effects on the stability of cell membranes and the structure of nerve and brain cells. They also interfere with the formation of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Therefore, it helps to change the balance of the good and bad fats in the body to better manage the menstrual pain. Consume the good cis oils and remove the bad trans oils from the diet will give the cells more integrity and it helps in alleviating painful periods.
Here is the excerpt from endo-resolved that explained how Omega-3 fatty acid helps in relieving painful periods :
Primary dysmenorrhoea (painful periods) is caused by cramping in the uterine muscles — the uterus is a muscle and like all muscles it contracts and relaxes! Women don’t usually feel these muscles contract, unless it is a particularly strong contraction. With endometriosis the pain associated with menstrual cramps is usually very intense and painful. During a contraction, blood supply to the uterus can be temporarily cut off. This deprives the muscle of oxygen, which causes pain. But why do the uterine muscles contract?
It is caused by the series two prostaglandins. Series two prostaglandins help the uterus to shed the womb lining during menstruation by causing the contraction of the uterine muscles. Understandably, if too many of these prostaglandins are produced, then the contractions will be more severe and cause painful menstrual cramps — primary dysmenorrhoea.
However, not all prostaglandins have this effect on the involuntary uterine muscles, which is why diet can play a big role in minimising the production of series two prostaglandins. The types of fatty acids included in your diet influence the types of prostaglandins made. For example, series two prostaglandin (the type that trigger powerful contractions of the uterus) levels are increased when animal fat is included in the diet. In contrast, series one and series three prostaglandins (the type that don’t cause uterine contractions) are produced when the diet is higher in linoleic acid, which is found naturally in tuna and salmon oil. Evening primrose oil and starflower oil are also rich sources of linoleic acid, which is why they are often recommended for women suffering from period cramps and are especially helpful for women with endometriosis.
Excellent sources of the omega-3 fatty acid producing oils are:
· Fish Oil
· evening primrose
· Walnut oil
· flax seeds/oil
· Grape seed Oil
My Experience :
I take Fish Oil supplement regularly, 3000mg a day.
I cut down on any vegetable oils and use mainly grape seed oil for cooking. Wherever possible, I try to cook without using any oil at all, so as to reduce the amount of fat intake. This can be very challenging for me as an Asian since most of our cooking requires oil. However, I thrive on this challenge, and get creative in my cooking. I feel a sense of achievement whenever I could come out with dishes for dinner without using even a single drop of oil, and I like to do it without compromising on the good taste and meal satisfaction for me and my family. I have actually shared a few of my recipe here on Hubpages. Check it out here.
- Bitter gourd, Carrot, Mushroom Chicken Soup - the Wo...
Bitter gourd, Carrot, Mushroom Chicken Soup Bitter gourd, Carrot, Mushroom Chicken Soup is one of my favourite home-cooked soups. Chinese believes that this soup is excellent to remove the body heat or...
- Savoury Steamed Pumpkin Cake Recipe literally su...
Steamed Pumpkin Cake This traditional Chinese savoury snack is commonly served during breakfast or tea-time with tea or coffee. The cake can be eaten as it is, though some prefer to take it with soy and...
4. VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS
I take “LIFEPAK”, a supreme multivitamins and minerals supplement which contains all, but not limited to, the following minerals that will help women with endometriosis:
is a mineral and is believed to ease cramping with menstruation
is essential for enzyme activity, helping cells to reproduce which will help with healing. Zinc is also reported to boost the immune system and helping to create an emotional sense of well-being
Levels of calcium in menstruating women decrease 10 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation. Deficiency may lead to muscle cramps, headache or pelvic pain.
women with Endometriosis tend to have very heavy periods which can lead to an iron deficiency. This can lead to anemia which is characterized by extreme fatigue and weakness.
are important for the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates and fats in the body. B vitamins are reported to improve the emotional symptoms of Endometriosis, and have proved helpful in dealing with PMT
is well known for helping to boost the immune system and help provide resistance to disease. It is also used in the body to build and maintain collagen within the body.
is another immune system booster
plays an important role by increasing oxygen carrying capacities and also strengthens the immune system
when taken together with vitamin E has been reported to decrease inflammation associated with Endometriosis, as well as immune system booster.
Research papers have shown that Vitamin C is anti-histamine; hence it can dampen histamine release. Vitamin E can also alleviate pain as it also works as an antioxidant that can prevent cell damage at the membrane. When free radical damages the cell membrane, it weakens the cell membrane, and the endometriosis can attach to it. On the other hand, when B vitamins, especially B1, B6 and B12 are taken in combination, it works as well as any analgesic when they are in the right level in the body.
Apart from Multi-vitamins supplement, I often consume seaweed for the required vitamins and minerals. I also take grape seed capsules to increase the levels of antioxidants in my blood. For my breakfast, I enjoy taking Oat Milk with added Selenium and Black Sesame powder.
5. FOODS BENEFICIAL FOR THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Women with endometriosis often have lower immune system. My research shows that the following food are recommended to boost up their immune system:
· Green tea
· sprouted seeds
My personal favourite is green tea.
6. REDUCE STRESS
One study involving 49 women found that stress hormone, cortisol, levels were significantly higher in women with advanced endometriosis compared to women who didn't have this condition. Therefore, I try to live a less stressful life by taking up a less stressful job, and generally “take life easily and more positively”. Herbs and nutrients that alternative practitioners commonly recommend for stress reduction include:
Vitamin B and C, Zinc and Magnesium
There are also other methods that can help in reducing stress:
Or just indulge in any activity you like that doesn’t stress you. People with different personality have different way of finding relaxation technique. You just have to find your own way to relieve stress and tension.
7. TEN MINUTES OF EXERCISE
Exercise does helps. When we exercise the body produces chemicals in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins bring pain relief and they surge round the body, thereby easing the pain of Endometriosis. The compounds found in endorphins are of similar structure and mimic the effects of morphine, a powerful narcotic pain reliever. Ten minutes of moderate exercise is all the body needs to start producing these safe pain relievers. If exercise is too painful at times, low impact activities may help. These include swimming, walking and yoga. Taking some form of exercise will help to relieve stress and tension, and hence reduce estrogen levels in the body.
Ok, now you have known what to eat. Next, you will need to known the food to avoid. In fact, Endometriosis Diet is more about what food to avoid. These food increase estrogen levels that worsen the symptoms of endometriosis, promotes negative prostaglandins (inflammatory / pain messenger / womb contracting type) that aggravate the menstrual pain. So, click on the button below to go to Part 3 to learn more ...
- Endometriosis Diet for Menstrual Pain Relief (Part-3)
However, knowing what not to eat can make a significant difference in the way an endometriosis sufferer feels. In fact, endometriosis diet is about eliminating foods that increase negative prostaglandins...
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Lina on June 28, 2015:
I have managed to reduce the size of my emdometriosis but when i'm relax or go off my the supposedly diet routine, i realized the size increase again, though really slowly. The size goes from 3 ++ cm to 2 cm & now back to 4 cm. That is within a 4 yr period. But recently i went to see an experienced gynae (just for 2nd opinion)& he discovered tht i also have adenomyosis though still mild. I don't want to undergo with any surgery so he prescribed to be Danazol at 200g a day. After reading on the side effects, i am scared. I haven't consumed it yet. Now checking whether i shd or not.
U have both endometriosis & adenomyosis do u? Do u take any medicine like Danazol? I'd prefer some herbs medicine if possible, anything natural. Pls help
chelley on January 16, 2015:
Does collagen supplements worsen endometriosis?
emilybee on January 12, 2014:
Very interesting. I love ginger tea and we eat garlic frequently too. Interesting to note it helps with lower immune systems. I probably have a lower immune system, I seem to always be sick. Thanks again.
connie on October 07, 2013:
by non-invasive treatments, do you mean western medication? but i heard they have side effects. My Chinese doctor only prescribed some Chinese medicine for me, which is used to dissolve the blook clot. Now my pain is slightly better, but i still have to lie in bed occassionally when i'm having my period. according to my doctor, i'll have to take the Chinese medicine for 10 days every month before my period begins. Other than that, there's nothing else i can do to further relieve the pain. i've tried the diet as you suggested for two months, but haven't seen any noticeable improvements yet. but i'll keep trying.
Ingenira (author) on September 01, 2013:
Connie, my cyst was 12cm in diameter when I started on the diet. It didn't reduce much. It was so huge that it affected my ureter, and I had slight hydronephrosis. I had to undergo surgery to remove it.
If your cyst is below 4cm, your chances of reducing it with diet change and supplement is much better. That said, it depends on people. Supplement and diet change works on some people, not for others in reducing cyst size. So, you have to try and see which treatment suits you best.
There are also many non-invasive treatment of Endometriosis, which can reduce the cyst size. No surgery is needed, you can consult your doctor on that matters.
Any fish is ok.
Chicken eggs ... it is better to reduce the intake.
connie on September 01, 2013:
thank you for your reply. I come from China. I felt very hopeless after the doctor told me i had to undergo a surgery for my endo some day when the cysts grow very fast and very large because there's no cure for it. After reading your post, i felt very encouraged and would like to give it a try and see how it goes. I've been keeping red meat, dairy products and wheat out of my diet but not sure if i can eat raw salmon, eggs, and fish fried with extra virgin olive oil. Any suggestions? Also, when you said you now feel no pain, does it mean your cysts are also completely gone? thanks a lot.
Ingenira (author) on August 29, 2013:
Hi Connie, I am in my early forties now, and started the diet in year 2010.
connie on August 27, 2013:
may i ask how old you are? and how long have you been keeping your Endo diet? thanks
Ingenira (author) on October 28, 2012:
No, no soy.
I checked from www.endovan.com website, the ingredients of endovan are :
Vitex agnus-castus 0.9-1.1%
Tessy on October 28, 2012:
Ingenira, does Endovan have soy in it ? I'm an endo victim.
brianna on July 09, 2012:
Thankyou so much I am trying to concieve naturally w endo and tgis was so helpful and informative!!
Ingenira (author) on May 15, 2012:
I don't avoid seafood. Seafood is ok. In fact with red meat, tofu and hormone-injected chicken out of my diet, I have only seafood to turn to. I also take free-range chicken, and chemical-free fish, and sometimes shrimps whenever I cook at home.
Ingenira (author) on May 15, 2012:
H.Liu, rice is ok, brown rice is better. It is in fact easier for Chinese to adapt to Endo diet since Chinese likes to eat rice. Wheat (cakes, bakery product, etc) is a no-no, they bring a lot of pain ! I avoid soy sauce whenever I can, and just have plain sea salt and pepper, sesame oil or other herbs (basil, parsley, etc) for better taste.
It is very normal to have red urine if you consume beetroot. Don't be alarmed. :) You lose a lot of blood from endometriosis, so beetroot is excellent food to replenish your blood. You can google this Hubpages site for benefits of beetroot. It is a medicinal food.
If you google "Endo resolved beetroot", you will see many success story from consuming beetroot.
H.Liu on May 15, 2012:
Thank you for your information. As a Chinese-American, it is hard without white rice and soy sauce. Are you avoid seafood also? I love shrimps. I will order 3 months of Endovan and give it a try. I will go to Costco search fish oil and apple cider vinegar. About 3 weeks ago, I had 2 cups of fresh beetroot juice and my urine got red(2 days). That was scared me to death.
Ingenira (author) on May 14, 2012:
H.Liu, I have stopped taking Endovan, since it is not easy to get it here in my country, I have to get it shipped half of the globe to reach my place. If you are undecided on whether to take it, then, my advice is, give it a try for 3-4 months, and see if it helps. However, diet change must be followed at the same time, i.e. avoid any food with wheat, red meat, dairy products, and eat high fibre food, especially Cruciferous Vegetables. Exercise, lose fat etc. I am still taking 3000mg of fish oil daily. Drinking fresh beetroot juice + apple cider vinegar daily (to the best I can), really gives my health a boost, and counter the pain.
H.Liu on May 14, 2012:
How long have you on Endovan? Are you still taking Endovan?
Anoop Aravind A from Nilambur, Kerala, India on May 14, 2012:
thank you for this informative hub.
Ingenira (author) on May 13, 2012:
H.Liu, my heart goes to you. Diet change has worked for me and many others. You should really give it a try.
Ingenira (author) on May 13, 2012:
H.Liu, I dscovered endometriosis since I was 27 years old, I had 2 surgeries by the time I was 30 years old. Then, at 31 years old, I delivered a baby, that stopped the re-growth for a few years. 5 years later, endometriosis came back, so I decided then to counter the pain with diet change.
H.Liu on May 12, 2012:
Ingenira, how long you discovered endometrosis? I cannot handle the pain. I'm thinking to have another surgery. Thank you again. Finally I find someone can talk with.
H.Liu on May 12, 2012:
Thank you for informative site. I discovered endometrosis during my first doctor's visit at age of 25. Now I am 39 years old. I had two surgeries in USA: 1998 and 2001. Starting 2003 endometrois and adenomyosis made my life crazy-4 days cannot get of bed, pain meds, very heavy period and lack of energy, just like 80 year old women. I cannot work for full time because of who wants an employee takes 4 days off every month. Chinese medicines seem not working for me. I was in China 2005 - 2010 for a truck of Chinese herbs, nothing help. Maybe I should try Endovan you mentioned.
Ingenira (author) on April 22, 2012:
Moon Daisy, thank you for your most appreciated comment. I am always very excited to see how other overcome their menstrual pain with diet change. Do update us with your progress. Hope all goes well with you.
Moon Daisy from London on April 22, 2012:
Thank you for this extremely useful article. You have included so much useful information here. I have endometriosis and fibroids, and find I am much more pain-free when I avoid wheat. I am also trying out taking 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed each day, and am undecided so far as to its effects. I can see from your hubs that there are lots of other changes that I can make. Thanks again.
Suz on March 19, 2012:
Thank you Ingenira & Apple. I will avoid yogurt from now on. However, my endo is so far only at my left ovary. Actually i've had laproscopy done twice & after a year, i'm having it back. I'm having it now. I just hope by eating the right food & combination with some homeopathic medicine it will shrink. I did control what i ate after the last laproscopy but probably I still enjoy lots of wheat, yogurt etc. Anyway, this article of yours shed up some hope for me & for now, since my cyst is already there, I just hope that it won't get any bigger..
apple on March 18, 2012:
i think raw food and insoluble fibre is not good to take too much if your endo is affecting ur bowel. it cause serious constipation. i was told to limit the intake of these food listed 1.
Ingenira (author) on March 13, 2012:
Suz, I would stay away from any dairy product including yogurt.
As for Oat Milk, I would look for oat milk which is free from soy product, and I did find one or two of such product in the Health food store. They tasted really good too.
Suz on March 11, 2012:
Is it ok to take yogurt drink everyday as yogurt is milk based. I was afraid that it could aggravate the endometriosis.
Another, i'm taking oat milk everyday to substitute for milk. However, in the ingredient i noticed some soy product. Is it still ok?
Really need your advice
Ingenira (author) on February 19, 2011:
Thanks so much, marieryan. I hope this article will help her to relief her pain. Until today, the Endo diet still brings me pain free period. In fact, I feel better than other people who do not have endometriosis but still suffer from menstrual cramp.
Marie Ryan from Andalusia, Spain on February 19, 2011:
Thank you, Ingenira, for such informative articles on Endometriosis. I have a family member who may be suffering the condition and I have forwarded your articles to her! I have voted you up, up, UP!