Eating well to ease endometriosis symptoms

There is a role for diet in managing endometriosis.

Sadly, endometriosis is an all-too-common condition for women: current estimates are one in ten of us are diagnosed with the condition, yet it still remains an enigma in terms of its cause and the best treatment options, comments Bourn Hall’s Nutritional Therapist, Angela Attwood.

Endometriosis is a complex condition to manage, however research recognises the importance of diet and lifestyle in helping the symptoms.

There are many things to consider including nutrient deficiencies, environmental toxins, genetics, high sugar consumption, immune and digestive system health, stress, hormone balance and medications, all of which a nutritional therapist can support. Read on for a few tips, but for more support get in touch.

Angela Attwood

Importance of vitamin D

Recent research has shown that there is a correlation between low vitamin D levels and endometriosis*

Sunshine is essential for us to make vitamin D and the shift from working in the office to home has meant that many of us have less opportunity to get outside in the daylight.

Natural light affects our circadian rhythm and hormones including serotonin which not only supports mood, but also regulates inflammation and how we experience pain.

As the months get warmer getting outside exposes us to more sunshine.  Vitamin D, is anti-inflammatory and essential for immune system function. The research showed that women with endometriosis have been shown to have lower levels of vitamin D and endometriosis severity correlated negatively with vitamin D status.

Data regarding increased dietary intake of vitamin D as a preventive measure have been promising.

Ask your GP to check your Vitamin D level.

*A systematic review of vitamin D and endometriosis: role in pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention

Personalised nutritional advice is now included as part of self-funded IVF treatment, and a free consultation is also available in the Fertility Health + Wellbeing package to help improve natural fertility

Benefits of orange (and green) vegetables

The immune and digestive system are interlinked, and 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, which makes it a good place to start. One of the best things you can do to support your gut health is to take a look at your fibre intake.

Fibre is present in all plant foods, from fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans, and lentils, to wholegrain oats, rye and buckwheat. Start slowly, and gradually build up your fibre intake to avoid digestive symptoms.

Studies have also suggested that plant foods rich in carotenoids* maybe helpful in endometriosis. Pro vitamin A carotenoids are plant pigments that are converted to vitamin A in the intestine, and whose many functions include supporting the immune and reproductive systems.

Beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and beta cryptoxanthin are all pro vitamin A carotenoids and you can find them in orange and green vegetables and fruits such as broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, red peppers, apricots, oranges and satsumas.

*Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of endometriosis

*Nutrition in the prevention and treatment of endometriosis: A review

Introducing ‘super foods’ into your diet

Roast a tray of cubed butternut squash, sweet potato and red peppers and serve warm with a leafy salad and a sprinkling of feta cheese

Or try this lovely spicy butternut squash soup:


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 1 inch piece of root ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1.5Kg butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • I70ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
  • Vegetable stock to cover (approx. 1 pint)


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat warm the oil and add the onion, ginger and curry paste. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the squash and coat with the paste mixture. Add 1 pint of vegetable stock, ensuring the butternut squash is fully immersed.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the squash is tender.
  • Blend until smooth then return to the pan and stir in the coconut milk, warm through.
  • Add fish sauce and lemon juice, stir and serve.
Squash Soup

About endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs when tissue like that lining the womb starts to grow in other places, such as around the ovaries and fallopian tubes creating scar tissue and blocking the tubes. It can swell with hormones, so the pain can become worse before and during a period.

There are different stages of the disease, and the symptoms can vary so it is problematic to diagnose. It can be identified with a scan and diagnosed with certainty using laparoscopy.

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