Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. This misplaced tissue can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of the uterus, and other organs in the pelvic area. In rare cases, it may spread to other areas of the body.
During the menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds in response to hormonal changes. However, the displaced endometrial tissue has no way to exit the body. This leads to the accumulation of blood and tissue, causing inflammation, pain, and the formation of scar tissue or adhesions.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, but there are several theories, including retrograde menstruation (backward flow of menstrual blood), immune system dysfunction, genetic factors and hormonal imbalances. The condition primarily affects women of reproductive age, typically starting in their teens or twenties.
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which can vary in intensity and may worsen during menstruation or sexual activity. Other symptoms include painful periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, infertility, pain during bowel movements or urination, fatigue, and gastrointestinal issues.
While there is no definite cure for endometriosis, dietary and lifestyle changes can have a profound effect to support symptom alleviation.
Anti-inflammatory diet: This includes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds), fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit or avoid processed foods, red meat, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in saturated fats.
Supplements: omega-3 fatty acid supplements, curcumin (found in turmeric), and vitamin D have supportive properties.
Iron rich foods such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, beans and good quality meats have been shown to support symptoms of endometriosis.
Exercise and movement: Regular physical activity can help reduce inflammation and alleviate. Engaging in low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates may be beneficial. It's important to listen to your body and avoid activities that exacerbate pain.
Stress management: Chronic stress can worsen symptoms. Explore stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in activities you enjoy. Seeking support from a therapist or joining a support group can also be helpful in managing stress related to endometriosis.