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Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects many women but remains little understood. The painful symptoms of the condition are caused by the growth of endometrial tissue in abnormal places, such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Since it is largely considered a result of hormonal and systemic imbalance, some health experts and patients believe that dietary changes can help reduce or manage symptoms. Although a diet for endometriosis may vary from person to person, alternative therapists and patients have a wide set of guidelines that may help reduce symptom intensity and frequency.
A diet for endometriosis focuses on providing high amounts of certain minerals and vitamins while removing possible irritants to the system. One of the primary causes of endometriosis-related pain is believed to be the production of a fatty acid called prostoglandin. Reducing this acid is considered to be the goal of a diet for endometriosis patients.
Decreasing saturated fat intake is a major portion of a diet for endometriosis. Reducing the use of butter, lard, dairy, high-saturated fat oils, and fatty animal tissue is often considered a key to the diet. At the same time, consumption of omega-3 oils is believed to be highly beneficial, and patients are often encouraged to use olive or safflower oil and eat beans, fish, and walnuts for their high omega-3 content.
Gluten-free diets are also gaining considerable popularity as a remedy for endometriosis symptoms. Some studies have shown a correlation between endometriosis and gluten-sensitivity, suggesting that the intake of gluten-containing products may aggravate symptoms. Wheat and other gluten products are usually reduced or eliminated on a diet for endometriosis.
Alcohol and caffeine are also believed to have some contra-indicative effect on people with endometriosis. Since the condition is related to excess estrogen in the body, these substances are often reduced or eliminated in order to facilitate estrogen reduction through the liver and prevent an aggravation of estrogen production.
Vitamin supplements are often recommended on a diet for endometriosis. Since many foods are eliminated, it becomes even more important to ensure that the body is receiving an adequate amount of nutrition to keep organs and bodily systems functioning normally. Women with endometriosis are often told to take a daily multi-vitamin that contains a high amount of B vitamins.
Increasing fiber levels is one of the mainstays of a diet for endometriosis. Fiber is believed to aid digestion and may play some part in regulating estrogen levels. Excellent choices for increasing fiber on a diet for endometriosis include beans, leafy green vegetables, and gluten-free whole grains. Brown rice and oatmeal are considered highly beneficial grain choices.