Endometriosis is an inflammatory disorder that causes endometrial (uterine lining) tissue to grow outside of the uterus. Some people claim that avoiding dairy can help manage their condition, but the link between dairy and endometriosis is unclear.
There’s also minimal research to support the benefits of diet for endometriosis. This includes avoiding certain foods, like dairy, and eating more of others.
Still, many people self-manage endometriosis through dietary changes. The idea is that eating certain foods can ease the inflammation in endometriosis, potentially improving symptoms.
Read on to learn how dairy might affect endometriosis and whether you should avoid other foods to help manage this condition.
Although more research is needed on the link between dairy and endometriosis, current research suggests that some dairy products might actually help prevent endometriosis.
According to a
Similarly, a 2021 review found that a high intake of cheese and high fat dairy may lower endometriosis risk. In this review, a high intake was considered to be more than 3 servings per day. Alternatively, a high intake of butter was linked with a higher risk.
The researchers of these studies attributed the findings to the calcium and vitamin D in dairy. Both nutrients can reduce inflammation, which is at the root of endometriosis.
According to the study, this may be related to the phytoestrogens in dairy. Phytoestrogens are compounds that act like estrogen, a hormone in the body. They can help reduce inflammation, which potentially reduces the risk of endometriosis.
Despite these findings, more research is needed to understand the link between dairy and endometriosis.
Many people claim that avoiding dairy is essential for managing endometriosis. While there’s no hard evidence to prove its benefits, it may help some individuals for the following reasons.
One reason someone might eliminate dairy for endometriosis is lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, the sugar naturally found in milk. It causes symptoms like bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. Meanwhile, endometriosis symptoms include painful cramping and discomfort during bowel movements.
If you’re lactose intolerant, eating dairy might worsen these endometriosis symptoms, so avoiding dairy products may be helpful.
It’s thought that some dairy products can cause inflammation in the body. This is associated with the saturated fats in dairy products, which may increase inflammation.
However, the link between dairy and inflammation is unclear. It might also depend on the type of dairy product. For example, in a
There’s no hard evidence that avoiding dairy can improve endometriosis symptoms. But you might still wonder if restricting dairy is right for you.
To see if it helps, consider eliminating dairy products from your diet and monitoring how you feel. Compare this to your usual symptoms. If you feel better, it might be worth limiting or avoiding dairy products.
For best results, consider working with a dietitian. They can recommend how long you should avoid dairy and what specific symptoms to look for. A dietitian can also guide you in the types of foods you should eat in place of dairy to make sure you’re receiving adequate nutrition.
Keep in mind that the symptoms of endometriosis can vary widely. Because of this, managing the condition can look different for each person.
There’s no official endometriosis diet. This is because the condition is complex and different for each person. The research is also ongoing.
However, there is some evidence that eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help manage endometriosis, which is caused by inflammation.
About an anti-inflammatory diet
An anti-inflammatory diet includes foods such as:
An anti-inflammatory diet limits foods that may contribute to higher levels of inflammation, such as:
According to anecdotal claims, avoiding gluten may be beneficial for endometriosis. But a 2020 review notes that it’s unclear if avoiding gluten can efficiently manage the condition. More research is needed to determine if gluten has an effect on endometriosis symptoms.
There’s no cure for endometriosis. However, in addition to following an anti-inflammatory diet, the following strategies may help ease symptoms:
- Stress management. Focusing on stress relief may help you cope with endometriosis. This can include activities like exercise, meditation, breathing exercises, and spending time on activities or hobbies you enjoy.
- Quality sleep. Try your best to prioritize your sleep. Lack of sleep can increase your perception of pain and possibly worsen endometriosis symptoms.
- Hormone therapy. Hormone therapy, available as a nasal spray, injection, or pill, can be used to help manage pain caused by endometriosis. Talk with your doctor about whether this is an option for you.
- Pain medication. If you have mild symptoms, pain medications can help. Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain medications, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription-strength pain relievers.
If you have severe endometriosis and other treatment options don’t help, your doctor may recommend surgery.
The link between dairy and endometriosis is unclear. According to the available research, some dairy products have anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent or manage the condition. But some people believe dairy products worsen their symptoms.
Endometriosis is complex and different for each person, so it’s possible that avoiding dairy may help some people. If you think dairy products worsen your symptoms, consider avoiding them and seeing how you feel.
A dietitian can also provide personalized guidance and help determine if you need to avoid dairy products and possibly other types of foods, too.