Understanding Endometriosis

Understanding Endometriosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Dietary Consideration

Written by: Teah Randle

Endometriosis is a complex medical condition that affects countless individuals worldwide. In this blog post, we aim to shed light on what endometriosis is, its potential causes, the symptoms you should be aware of, its effects on various aspects of life, and the role diet can play in managing this condition. Not so fun fact, in  rare cases it can be found on the heart and lungs.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue (the tissue that lines the uterus) outside of the uterus. This tissue can be found on various organs and tissues within the abdominal cavity. Remarkably, in rare cases, it has even been found on the heart and lungs.

Causes and Risk Factors:

The causes of endometriosis remain largely unknown and misunderstood. Recent research has explored genetic risk as a potential contributing factor. Additionally, there has been ongoing investigation into childhood lifestyle factors and environmental compounds. However, much of this research remains inconclusive, and further studies are needed to unravel the complexities of this condition.

Signs and Symptoms:

Endometriosis presents with a range of symptoms, although not everyone experiences all of them. Common signs include:

  • Heavy or painful periods and irregular menstrual cycles
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Fertility issues
  • Disruption to various aspects of life, including social, professional, academic, and economic domains
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Presence of endometrial tissue throughout the abdominal cavity
  • Development of polyps


Diagnosing endometriosis can be a lengthy and challenging process requiring a lot of time and energy. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to consult your doctor for a comprehensive evaluation. Diagnosis may involve imaging tests and laparoscopy.

Effects of Endometriosis:

Endometriosis can have a profound impact on a person’s life, affecting not only physical health but also mental well-being. Research suggests that it may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, is strongly associated with IBS, and can lead to anxiety and depression, ultimately reducing the quality of life. Additionally, infertility is a common concern for many with endometriosis.

Diet and Endometriosis:

While there has been research on diet and its effects on endometriosis, there is no one-size-fits-all dietary solution. However, studies have shown that maintaining a high-quality diet, rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, limited in alcohol, and emphasizing whole grains, healthy fats, and whole foods, can be beneficial. It’s important to note that nutrition plans for endometriosis should be highly individualised, therefore, it can be extremely beneficial to see a dietitian. As dietitians we are uniquely positions to provide highly specific dietary advice and planning for each one of our clients.

How we can help: 

If you have endometriosis and want to know more about your specific nutrition needs to help with your management needs, please contact our team and we will conduct a full dietary assessment and provide you with recommendations and changes that work with your lifestyle. 


  1. Agarwal SK, Foster WG, Groessl EJ. Rethinking endometriosis care: applying the chronic care model via a multidisciplinary program for the care of women with endometriosis. Int J Womens Health. 2019;11:405-10.
  2. Borghini R, Porpora MG, Casale R, Marino M, Palmieri E, Greco N, et al. Irritable Bowel Syndrome-Like Disorders in Endometriosis: Prevalence of Nickel Sensitivity and Effects of a Low-Nickel Diet. An Open-Label Pilot Study. Nutrients. 2020;12(2).
  3. Bulun SE, Yilmaz BD, Sison C, Miyazaki K, Bernardi L, Liu S, et al. Endometriosis. Endocr Rev. 2019;40(4):1048-79.
  4. Fung JN, Montgomery GW. Genetics of endometriosis: State of the art on genetic risk factors for endometriosis. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2018;50:61-71.
  5. Hemmert R, Schliep KC, Willis S, Peterson CM, Louis GB, Allen-Brady K, et al. Modifiable life style factors and risk for incident endometriosis. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2019;33(1):19-25.
  6. Huijs E, Nap A. The effects of nutrients on symptoms in women with endometriosis: a systematic review. Reprod Biomed Online. 2020;41(2):317-28.
  7. Krabbenborg I, de Roos N, van der Grinten P, Nap A. Diet quality and perceived effects of dietary changes in Dutch endometriosis patients: an observational study. Reprod Biomed Online. 2021;43(5):952-61.
  8. Mamillapalli R, Taylor HS. Endometriosis causes cardiovascular disease. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2022.
  9. Marsh C. Endometriosis. London: IntechOpen; 2021.
  10. Nodler JL, DiVasta AD, Vitonis AF, Karevicius S, Malsch M, Sarda V, et al. Supplementation with vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids in adolescent girls and young women with endometriosis (SAGE): a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020;112(1):229-36.
  11. Olsarova K, Mishra GD. Early life factors for endometriosis: a systematic review. Hum Reprod Update. 2020;26(3):412-22.
  12. Ottolina J, Schimberni M, Makieva S, Bartiromo L, Fazia T, Bernardinelli L, et al. Early-life factors, in-utero exposures and endometriosis risk: a meta-analysis. Reprod Biomed Online. 2020;41(2):279-89.
  13. Schink M, Konturek PC, Herbert SL, Renner SP, Burghaus S, Blum S, et al. Different nutrient intake and prevalence of gastrointestinal comorbidities in women with endometriosis. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2019;70(2).
  14. Schwartz NRM, Afeiche MC, Terry KL, Farland LV, Chavarro JE, Missmer SA, et al. Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, Fiber, and Gluten Intake and Risk of Laparoscopically-Confirmed Endometriosis in Premenopausal Women. J Nutr. 2022.
  15. Soave I, Occhiali T, Wenger J-M, Pluchino N, Caserta D, Marci R. Endometriosis and food habits: Can diet make the difference? London, England: SAGE Publications; 2018. p. 59-71.
  16. Vennberg Karlsson J, Patel H, Premberg A. Experiences of health after dietary changes in endometriosis: a qualitative interview study. BMJ Open. 2020;10(2):e032321.
  17. Warzecha D, Szymusik I, Wielgos M, Pietrzak B. The Impact of Endometriosis on the Quality of Life and the Incidence of Depression-A Cohort Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(10).
  18. Welfare. AIoHa. Endometriosis in Australia: prevalence and hospitalisations. In: Welfare. AIoHa, editor. Canberra2019. p. 16.
Previous Post
Eating for Type 2 Diabetes
Next Post
How Your Diet and Lifestyle Can Influence Your Blood Pressure

Related Posts

No results found.