Could Your Diet Impact Endometriosis?

by Ella

Endometriosis, a chronic condition characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity, affects approximately 10% of girls and women of reproductive age worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. With no known cure, endometriosis can lead to severe pain, infertility, and impact the immune system and digestive tract. Recent research suggests that dietary interventions could play a crucial role in managing the condition and improving patients’ quality of life.


A comprehensive literature search, covering articles published between 2013 and 2023 in Web of Sciences and PubMed, identified 171 relevant studies shedding light on the potential impact of diet on endometriosis.


See Also: Endometriosis: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment Options


Vitamins as Allies Against Endometriosis

Studies indicate that vitamin supplementation, particularly vitamins C, D, and E, may offer relief to endometriosis patients. Animal studies demonstrate that vitamin C and D can inhibit the size of endometriotic lesions. In humans, these vitamins correlate with lower levels of inflammatory markers, oxidative stress, and pain. Vitamin D, specifically, shows promise in reducing the invasiveness of endometrial cells.


Macroelements and Microelements in Focus

Imbalances in essential elements such as sulfur, calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and chloride, crucial for a well-rounded diet, may worsen endometriosis symptoms. Deficiencies in trace elements like chromium, copper, selenium, iron, and manganese could influence the development of the disease. Notably, endometriosis patients often exhibit lower serum zinc levels, and selenium deficiencies may be linked to infertility.

Fatty Acids, Proteins, and Carbohydrates: A Mixed Bag

Fatty acids, especially omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3-PUFAs) and omega-6-PUFAs, show potential in regulating endometriosis development by modulating inflammation. However, the impact of supplementation on pain alleviation requires further exploration. Dietary factors like fiber consumption, cruciferous plants, and glycemic index foods show varying associations with endometriosis risk. Dairy consumption, particularly high-fat products, appears to have a protective effect, while certain proteins, like poultry, may be associated with increased risk.

Phytoestrogens and Xenoestrogens: Complex Relationships

Phytoestrogens in plants act as endocrine disruptors and may interact with endometriosis in diverse ways. Individual responses to phytoestrogens vary, with some experiencing reduced inflammation, while others may encounter worsening symptoms. Environmental xenoestrogens are strongly linked to the disease, emphasizing the importance of controlling exposure to these substances.


Endometriosis, with its limited treatment options and absence of a cure, prompts a closer examination of the potential impact of diet on managing symptoms. Enhancing nutritional guidelines offers a promising avenue to alleviate pain, inflammation, and disease pathology. However, the intricate relationship between dietary elements and endometriosis necessitates continued research for a more comprehensive understanding.


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