The Worst Foods for Endometriosis

We don’t know for sure the exact effects of food on endometriosis, but there are certainly a lot of compelling testimonies from women living with endometriosis who are finding symptom relief through their diet. What is the single biggest commonality across dietary changes? They’ve eliminated the most inflammatory and gut-aggravating foods. Let’s take a look at those food and discover some good substitutes for them.

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Dairy is one of the most inflammatory foods and one of the first areas that I explore when working with a client on an autoimmune diet. (Yup, endometriosis is an autoimmune disease.)

First, let’s define dairy. It includes milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. Of course, not all dairy is created equal. Some people can easily digest yogurt, but not milk, or butter, but not cheese. In the context of endometriosis, it’s ideal to eliminate all dairy completely for at least a period of time. You can always consider slowly reintroducing it after you’ve found sustainable relief from endometriosis.

Why is dairy so problematic? Aside from it being hard to digest and a common food allergy, it’s also a contributor to leaky gut. Many individuals with autoimmune disease have leaky gut – when the lining of the intestines become “permeable” so undigested food particles can escape the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream. So to “seal” the deal on this discussion, going dairy-free can help heal the gut and your body.

You can begin your dairy-free exploration by choosing a non-dairy milk.


We often hear of gluten and dairy paired together from a food sensitivity perspective. This is because the amino acid profile – the building blocks of protein – in dairy is similar to that in gluten. So, if the body recognizes one as a sensitivity or intolerant, it may easily see the other as problematic too. But, at its core, a gluten-free diet has been getting attention for managing pelvic pain. A study found that “painful symptoms of endometriosis decrease after 12 months of gluten-free diet".1

Diet is one of the safest options to explore symptom relief, not to mention improving your diet has health benefits like improving your overall health versus the many side effects you may experience from medication. Because so many people are choosing to go gluten-free, it’s never been easier in terms of options in the grocery store and in restaurants. The key in the transition is to switch over to whole food substitutions versus gluten-free processed foods. For example, swap out gluten-free pasta for a spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, or even a sweet potato. It’ll be more health supportive and easier on your pocket.

Fried foods

As yummy as they may taste, we know that fried foods are not doing our body any good. But how much do they actually effect endometriosis? A lot. The main reason is that fried foods often contain trans fats – unhealthy fats that increase inflammation in the body. We want to reduce inflammation in the body, not increase it.

Beyond that, fried foods are really hard on the digestive system. We know many women with endometriosis also experience digestive distress such as diarrhea, so fried foods could be a double disaster. If not for the endometriosis, do it for your stomach! There are plenty of baked, not fried options, that make this an easier transition.

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Have you tried eliminating any foods from your diet to manage the symptoms of endometriosis? Tell us below about your experience!

Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before changing your diet or taking any supplements.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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