Endometriosis And Nutrition


Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting a large sector of women of reproductive age (many who do not even know they have it). This condition can have a great impact on many people's (assigned female at birth [AFAB]) lives. Symptoms such as chronic pain, heavy periods, difficulty getting pregnant, as well as many more symptoms that may affect their daily life are related to endometriosis. Research on people AFAB’s reproductive health is constantly revealing more ways to reduce its effect on daily life activities. The effect of nutrition on endometriosis is one of the researcher’s interests, particularly foods that reduce symptoms or exacerbate them. This article aims to explore some nutrients that may aid in reducing these harsh symptoms. 

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which cell tissue similar to the tissue that lines the womb, grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This condition can affect people AFAB of any age, from puberty to menopause. It can have significant impacts on people’s lives but now more treatment options are available.1


The symptoms of endometriosis can vary significantly for individuals; some people are strongly affected by the condition, whilst it can go undiagnosed for others due to not having any noticeable symptoms. Some of the common symptoms that people may experience include:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen or lower back that is usually more prominent and worse during your period.
  • Debilitating period pain that may prevent your daily activities.
  • Pain during or after sex.
  • Pain whilst using the toilet when you are on your period.
  • Nausea, constipation, diarrhoea whilst on your period.
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Heavy periods.1

A balanced diet can help manage symptoms of endometriosis

Food affects the severity of endometriosis either by increasing oestrogen levels and inflammation or by reducing them. It is important to know the foods that can help alleviate endometriosis symptoms and consume the right diet.2

Endometriosis is oestrogen-dependent

Oestrogens are a group of lipid-based hormones that play a vital role in the sexual and reproductive development of people AFAB. 

Endometriosis is a condition that is dependent on this collection of hormones. Oestradiol is an active type of oestrogen that aggravates the pathological process of endometriosis. An abundance of this hormone causes an increase in endometrial tissue.2 

Endometriosis as a chronic inflammatory disease

Since endometriosis is characterised by the presence of tissue resembling the lining of the womb, outside the womb, it can cause a chronic inflammatory reaction that may result in the formation of scar tissue (adhesions, fibrosis) within the pelvis and other parts of the body along with all the other uncomfortable and painful symptoms mentioned earlier.1

Dietary recommendations for endometriosis

A balanced diet can help manage the symptoms of endometriosis, so which foods should you try to include?


Dietary fibre is known for its advantages for the cardiovascular and digestive systems. A positive relationship was found between high fibre intake and relieving endometriosis symptoms by reducing oestrogen levels. Excess oestrogen is removed from the body through the stool. Fibre helps maintain healthy bowel movement every day which lowers the oestrogen level. Having repeated constipation may elevate oestrogen levels.3 

Fibre is found in fruits and vegetables, legumes (such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas), as well as in whole grains such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Another superfood full of fibre is ground flaxseed. It is important to increase fibre intake gradually and drink a lot of water to decrease digestive discomfort, bloating, and gas.3

Omega-3 fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. The most well-known types of fatty acids are EPA and DHA. Omega-3 fatty acids are typically found in oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, and salmon. Plant-based alternatives contain a different type of fatty acid (ALA), which is found in walnuts, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds.4

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids intake reduces inflammation and relieves the pain of endometriosis. It is suggested that omega-3 fatty acids have this effect by affecting the biosynthesis of active prostaglandins, resulting in reduced pelvic pain. Other studies explained that long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of endometriosis.5

Calcium and magnesium

Calcium and magnesium are minerals commonly found in dairy foods. Intake of dietary calcium reduces inflammatory stress and magnesium has been linked to the relaxation of smooth muscle.6

A prospective cohort study looked at the effect of calcium and magnesium on endometriosis by conducting a survey investigating the association between dairy intake and incidents of laparoscopically confirmed cases of endometriosis. This study concluded that the consumption of total and low-fat dairy is associated with lowering the risk of endometriosis.6


Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting women of reproductive age to varying extents. For many women, the symptoms of endometriosis affect their daily life. This condition is oestrogen-dependent, which can be influenced by nutrition. Certain foods in your diet can reduce the symptoms. Fibre allows the removal of excess oestrogen. Omega-3 fats reduce inflammation and pelvic pain. Dairy products (containing calcium and magnesium) reduce inflammatory stress and regulate muscle contractions.


  1. Endometriosis [Internet]. NHS.UK. 2017 [cited 2022 Nov 24]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/endometriosis/   
  2. Bulun SE, Monsavais D, Pavone ME, Dyson M, Xue Q, Attar E, et al. Role of estrogen receptor-β in endometriosis. Nat Med [Internet]. 2012 Jul 6 [cited 2022 Nov 24];18(7):1016–8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4077338/  
  3. Endometriosis diet: foods to eat and avoid – cleveland clinic [Internet]. [cited 2022 Nov 24]. Available from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/endometriosis-diet/ 
  4. Do these 3 popular supplements actually help with endometriosis? [Internet]. The Dietologist. 2020 [cited 2022 Nov 24]. Available from: https://thedietologist.com.au/popular-supplements-for-endometriosis/  
  5. Khanaki K, Nouri M, Ardekani AM, Ghassemzadeh A, Shahnazi V, Sadeghi MR, et al. Evaluation of the relationship between endometriosis and omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Iran Biomed J. 2012;16(1):38–43.
  6. Harris HR, Chavarro JE, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Missmer SA. Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Mar 1;177(5):420–30.

Aisha Yasin

Biomedical Science - Biomedical Sciences, General, Lancaster University, England

"I am a recent biomedical science graduate, with ambitions to go on to do post-graduate medicine. During my biomedical science degree I have done a variety of modules including anatomy, physiology, clinical biochemistry and many more... Currently working as a healthcare assistant for P&O Cruises"

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