Coping with Endometriosis and IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is commonly experienced by women with endometriosis.1 I had always experienced bloating after eating certain foods, but I never really paid much attention to it. After a few years, I became really unwell and noticed more severe symptoms such as bloating, brain fog, anxiety, and fatigue, particularly after carbohydrates such as bread and pasta.

Managing my digestive health

I decided it was time to have my digestive symptoms investigated. After seeing multiple doctors including a gastroenterologist and a dietitian, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. I felt that something was missing, so I kept searching and eventually saw an integrative doctor who finally confirmed I had Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). It’s now believed that SIBO is a common cause of IBS and requires a specialised treatment and diet.2

Improving my gut health has been key to improving my overall health, including improving my endometriosis symptoms and my mental health. I do enjoy cooking, so in the process of improving my gut health, I decided to create some of my own recipes. You can find them at The Healing Yogi.

My tips

I’ve found that like with endometriosis, IBS and SIBO are best managed with a holistic approach. I’ve found the following strategies help:

  • Stress plays a big role and can cause both my endometriosis and IBS symptoms to flare. I meditate daily to manage my stress levels, but I don’t think it matters what you do, as long as you find time to relax and do something enjoyable every day.
  • A low-FODMAP diet has shown to significantly improve IBS symptoms in women with endometriosis.3 I went to see a qualified nutritionist when I was starting out.
  • Probiotics can help with symptoms and mood; there are studies which support their use for IBS.4
  • Eating mindfully and actually chewing food slowly helps with digestion.
  • Movement is also really helpful. I practice yoga, but any kind of movement, such as walking, can help.
  • Limit takeaway (take-out, carry-out) food – I really notice the difference when I don’t eat food I’ve prepared at home.
  • Seek support from a health professional to help guide you and find the underlying cause of your symptoms. I’ve found it takes the pressure off and it saves a lot of trial and error.

Yours in health,

Meredith x

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Endometriosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
  1. Schomacker ML, Hansen KE, Ramlau-Hansen CH, Forman A. Is endometriosis associated with irritable bowel syndrome? A cross-sectional study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol . 2018;(231):65-69. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30326376. Accessed November 26, 2018.
  2. Borghini R, Donato G, Alvaro D, Picarelli A. New insights in IBS-like disorders: Pandora's box has been opened; a review. Gastroenterol Hepatol Bed Bench. 2017;10(2):79-89. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5495893/.
  3. Moore JS, Gibson PR, Perry RE, Burgell RE. Endometriosis in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: Specific symptomatic and demographic profile, and response to the low FODMAP diet. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28303579. Published April 2017. Accessed November 26, 2018.
  4. Didari T, Mozaffari S, Nikfar S, Abdollahi M. Effectiveness of probiotics in irritable bowel syndrome: Updated systematic review with meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2015; 14(21):3072-3084. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25780308. Accessed November 26, 2018.

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