Fertility foods for Endometriosis
Continuing on my fertility food series; today I would like to talk about foods that can improve your fertility and reduce symptoms associated with Endometriosis.
Endometriosis can range from being unnoticeable in some women, who only find out after years of unsuccessful attempts to conceive (and a laparoscopy), to absolutely debilitating in severe cases. In moderate to severe cases, Endometriosis can mean incapacitating cramping and pain during menstruations (dysmenorrhea), irregular uterine bleeding, painful intercourse (dyspareunia) and infertility.
In those not trying to conceive, the birth control pill is usually prescribed with little to no other direction or support. If having children is desired, treatment becomes a little more complicated. In diagnosed moderate to severe cases, the most common suggestion is surgery. As with most conditions where surgery is one of the main or only treatment forms, many people do not qualify, or do qualify but only get a short period of relief before the symptoms return.
So the question comes up once again, ‘what else can I do to help slow, reverse, improve my endometriosis?’, and the answer once again lies not in some magic pill or scalpel, but in lifestyle and diet. There are supplements, Chinese medicinal herbs and detoxification programs available to speed the process, however they require differentiation and proper diagnosis, so in this blog I will just cover what you can do at home starting today. If you are keen to do more, you are welcome to book a free 15-minute consultation or book an appointment with myself or one of the other Acubalance doctors.
To be able to improve your endometriosis with lifestyle and diet, we need to first understand what to target. Endometriosis has been connected to immune dysfunction, as well as exposure to dioxins and toxic chemicals. It is known to improve when we consume anti-inflammatory foods and minimize our PCB and dioxin exposure.
1. Avoid using plastic containers to store your food. These containers, when exposed to heat can leach estrogenic chemicals that may interfere and disturb your hormonal balance. see more here
2. Avoid soy as much as possible. Soy is estrogenic and may aggravate your already estrogen dominant endometriosis.
3. No Coffee. (Oh boy, I’m going to get a lot of hate mail for this one.) Coffee is inflammatory, even the decaf version. Since Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition, even 1 cup a day can worsen symptoms associated with the endometriosis.
4. Avoid eating too much sugar and alcohol. Both are inflammatory and responsible for causing hormonal imbalance. (The 80/20 rule applies here)
1. Eat wild, fatty deep water fish, or take high potency omega fish oils with at least 750mg of EPA in them twice a day. EPA is helpful in reducing inflammation in the body. Avoid farm raised fish and fish which are known to have high toxin levels like sward fish, tilapia and basa. Click here for a list of the top 12 seafood recommendations according to oceanwise.
2. Consume high fiber foods to increase the transit time in your intestine and promote good intestinal flora. Rather than a fiber supplement, I suggest eating more vegetables and fruit, or grains like quinoa.
3. Consider going gluten free. I know gluten free feels like a fad, but in the case of endometriosis and its potential immunological concerns, gliadin (the protein found in gluten) can aggravate your symptoms and create a less hospitable environment for both eggs (impacting their quality) and for your pregnancy.
The same rules apply to anyone hoping to improve their health and fertility; the less processed the better. Gluten free donuts are not a health food.
4. Limit red meat. Red meat contains arachidonic acid that exasperates inflammation and can worsen your menstrual pain. Choose hormone free and ideally grass fed, pasture raised meat to also reduce additional consumption of unnecessary hormones found in the protein and fat of the meat.
My patients are always so surprised at the level of improvement they see after changing their diet, so give it a try for a month or two and you be the judge.