Our mission is to increase endometriosis awareness, fund landmark research, provide advocacy and support for patients, and educate the public and medical community.
Founders: Padma Lakshmi, Tamer Seckin, MD
Donate Now

Check, Please! The 10 Foods Endo Women Should Avoid

Check, Please! The 10 Foods Endo Women Should Avoid

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food, is an oft-quoted adage from ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.

He might as well have been speaking to endo women everywhere, because eating the wrong foods could potentially worsen the disease, not to mention, cause painful flare-ups.

So what foods should those with endometriosis choose?

“Following an anti-inflammatory diet with foods rich in magnesium along with high consumption of fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, blueberries and broccoli helps eliminate bloat and could ultimately prevent a patient with endometriosis from having surgery in some cases,” Karen Hartung, a registered dietician at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center, tells The Blossom.

Here are ten foods Hartung recommends endo women should stay away from:

1. Processed foods

Processed Food and Endometriosis

These foods "are full of additives,” Hartung said. “It’s better to prepare fresh food in its most natural form. Pesticides in conventional meats, fruits and vegetables can cause inflammation, especially in those with endometriosis.”

2. Alcohol

Alcohol and Endometriosis

“Alcohol turns to sugar in the body and puts stress on the liver as it tries to filter toxins out of the body,” Hartung said.

3. Caffeine

Caffeine and Endometriosis

“Daily caffeine intake for a woman with endometriosis should not exceed 200 mg a day,” Hartung said. “This equals about one 12 ounce cup of coffee." That's the equivalent of one tall regular coffee at Starbucks. "Too much caffeine once again creates inflammation in the body and aggravates the digestive system.”

4. Dairy

 Dairy and Endometriosis

“Dairy products can cause inflammation through hormones,” Hartung said. "Dairy products containing growth hormones and antibiotics can also worsen endometriosis symptoms."

5. Soy products

 Soy products and Endometriosis

“Avoid soy foods when possible as they can be estrogenic,” Hartung said. “Estrogen can cause the uterus to thicken and can trigger endometriosis to grow.”

6. Red meat

 Red meat and Endometriosis

Hartung refers to The Human Reproduction study, published in 2004, which found that women who ate beef or other red meat seven times a week or more were 100 percent more likely to have endometriosis than women who ate red meat three times a week or less. “Non-organic red meat can contain xenohormones and antibiotics, which can be toxic to the body," Hartung pointed out. "Lean proteins such as chicken, fish or turkey are much better choices."

7. Grains and Gluten

Grains and Gluten and Endometriosis

“Wheat, rye, and barley can be harmful to women with endometriosis,” Hartung said. “Going gluten-free is often recommended for women with endometriosis. Gluten can cause hormone imbalances and inflame organs.”

8. High-fat foods

High-fat foods and Endometriosis

“Consuming fatty foods can cause systemic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are recommended instead,” Hartung said.

9. Sweets

 Sweets and Endometriosis

"Avoid sweets as much as possible because those items contain sugar, which leads to inflammation. Stay away from cakes, cookies and ice cream, however sugar from fruit is fine," Hartung added. 

10. Non-organic foods

Non-organic foods and Endometriosis

“Try to eat organic whenever possible,” Hartung said. “Environmental pollutants such as dioxins, which increase estrogen levels, can be present on non-organic fruits and vegetables.”