Answered: My Most Frequently Asked Diet and Endometriosis Questions
A doctor told me once that people with endometriosis often have more digestion problems than gynecological ones. That's why so many people, myself included, end up getting an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) diagnosis years before they found out they have endo.
With that said, if you're going to make a serious change to your diet, it's a good idea to talk to a registered dietitian. I've met with several who work with gastroenterologists. The best ones are those familiar with endometriosis or other inflammatory conditions.
Now let's get into my FAQs.
Do you still follow the low-FODMAP diet?
Yes. This is hands down the best way to avoid endo belly. But I've added some foods back in from when I first started. With the help of a dietitian, I tailored the diet so I could avoid my biggest trigger foods — cauliflower, beans, onion, and garlic — and still get enough nutrients.
For more about my low-FODMAP journey, read my three-part series.
Did you give up gluten?
Yes, mostly. Giving up wheat helped relieve my joint pain and some other lingering flu-like symptoms.
Tests show I'm not celiac. But my doctor thinks I have a carbohydrate malabsorption problem and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. But other than sourdough bread, I'm gluten-free.
Mostly I have a problem with the carbohydrates in wheat. They're called fructans. That's why I can still have sourdough. The fermenting process breaks down most of the fructans and some of the glutens.
How did you feel after you went vegan?
I'm lactose intolerant. So giving up dairy put an end to the diarrhea I had almost every day. But simply going vegan 20 years ago didn't help my pain.
However, in my 30s, I learned to follow a minimally-processed plant-based diet. And that greatly improved my overall body pain.
What do you eat for breakfast?
I usually have certified gluten-free oats, natural peanut butter, and chopped blueberries. But sometimes I'll have a piece of sourdough bread and some tofu.
What do you eat for a snack?
I'll have a nut-filled Clif Bar or a handful of almonds. Boring, I know.
Is caffeine a problem?
Not for me. It doesn't seem to affect my endo one way or the other. My worst symptoms began well before I started drinking coffee every day, and my flares didn't get worse after.
Did giving up alcohol help?
Going booze-free didn't ease my endo symptoms or my period pain. But it was the best thing I ever did for my mental health. I haven't had a drink in three years, and I have far less problems with anxiety and depression.
Do you ever eat dessert?
Yes! I don't eat much, if any, added sugars through the day. But I do have something sweet almost every night after dinner. That might be a gluten-free banana-sweetened dessert I make myself, or some non-dairy ice cream.
How old were you when you were diagnosed with endometriosis?