Endometriosis and Me – Part 2


About a year ago I began to try various diet modifications and supplements to cope with the pain of endometriosis. I was quite skeptical since I had previously tried taking flaxseed oil capsules and eliminating all the “foods to avoid” but needed something to do to make myself feel as though I had some control over my health. I still do not believe in an endometriosis diet, but somehow something worked and I began to get better. In early December my husband gave me a  heating pad which had been intended for Christmas because he did not want to make me wait through my pain. By March I had “lost” the heating pad through disuse.

Unfortunately I do not know what food or supplement actually reduced my symptoms because I tried several things at the same time.

Flaxseeds. First I took three or four tablespoons of flaxseed oil daily, and then I switched to about a half cup of freshly ground flaxseeds daily. Eventually this was reduced to anywhere from two tablespoons to a third of a cup. I have no idea whether those who are paranoid about flaxseeds interfering with estrogen are on to something, or whether it was just the omega 3s helping me overall, but I am convinced that flax was and is a key to my improved health.

Soy products including tofu, sprouted soybeans, and protein powder. Soy was one of the foods which I had previously eliminated entirely from my diet with no results. It appears on many lists as a problem food for those suffering from reproductive disorders, but I had heard stories of others with endometriosis who had found it to be quite helpful in reducing pain. These days I try to consume a moderate amount of soy several days a week.

Vitamin powder. This had the added benefit of providing soy, but my main purpose in addition to insuring basic nutrients was the high amounts of B vitamins. Some people focus on supplementing just one or two of the B vitamins, but since they complement each other I thought it important to avoid focusing on just one.

Cruciferous vegetables. I had read that consuming large amounts of cruciferous vegetables can alter the activity of estrogen. So I not only ate lots of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, I started drinking kale and collard greens.

Tart cherries. I could never convince myself that these actually helped… but it felt as though they might have eased the pain a bit and my husband was convinced of the correlation enough that whenever I started to complain about pain he would get me cherries. Perhaps they just made me happy, especially since I think that most of what I actually consumed were sweet cherries.

Otherwise I continued to eat my vegetarian diet which included not only large amounts of fruits and vegetables, but also white flour, sugar, caffeine, and dairy products in the form of chocolate chip cookies. Maybe they were the real cure and just took a while to kick in?

There was sort-of science behind everything I tried, but no conclusive studies. Unfortunately it seems that endometriosis has been a bit neglected in terms of research for both treatment and pain management techniques. All I know is that something made a world of difference for me. I wish that I had studies, but I can be content with simply feeling better; especially since secondary symptoms such as exhaustion and extremely heavy bleeding also went away.

Next up: what I have learned from endometriosis.

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10 thoughts on “Endometriosis and Me – Part 2

  1. Christy

    Oh my goodness… your first post put me in tears. I am so glad that you found an answer that works for YOU. Amazing what an effect our diet can have… and your story is proof.

    1. Rae Post author

      Thank you so much for your sympathy. Seriously, I tend to feel as though no one healthy cares about these things but then thought that I was always happy when I could come across posts about endometriosis before I knew much about it.

  2. SomeGirl (SomeGirlsWebsite.com)

    I tried a similar diet for about a month without seeing immediate results… I may have to start back up now that I’ve read your post. I’ll even think about adding chocolate chip cookies! ;)
    I’ll be back to check out more of your site! – Michelle

    (Btw, thanks for dropping by my blog today and leaving a comment! )

    1. Rae Post author

      My results were definitely gradual. I kept with it though because it wasn’t hard. I highly suggest at least trying flax in whatever form is easiest for you, and maybe a lot of B vitamins. It can’t hurt so long as it isn’t hard, right? But whatever else you do, you *must* include the cookies (or treat of your choice).

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  4. Erin

    I’m so glad you are feeling better. While my first guess is that the cookies did the trick, do you think your age played a part? Apparently teenagers tend to report more painful periods than adults. (Not sure if I commented on this before…) I went on continued usage pills for my Endo when I was 16 or 17. As a result I only menstruated 4-6 times per year (when ever my body would start bleeding, I’d go off the pills for 5 days to let it bleed). My biggest concern is that I knew I wouldn’t want to have children until I was 30 (I turn 30 in June and will start trying in October) so I wanted to stop my period to attempt to stop the spreading of endometrial tissue (in tubes, around intestines, etc.). I just went off the pill at the end of Janusary – the first time in around 14 years. I’ve only had one cycle and the pain was minimal – a million times better than when I went on the pill at 16. But now I’m waiting. I’m 10 days late for my next cycle (not pregnant) and I’m hoping that my body will resume a normal cycle in the next 6 months. I’ve had side-effects of going off the pill: oily skin, oily hair, minor skin breakouts, constipation, and lots of bloating/weight gain. This is probably TMI. Sorry! Time to read the 3rd installment!

    1. Rae Post author

      I don’t think that age has been the main factor for me. I know that cramping tends to get better with age overall, but from what I have read about endo it only gets worse unless treated. That and the timing of improvement made me confident that it was something that I was doing. And now I am pretty close to positive since I have stopped most of those things and had one day at the start of my last two cycles that I spent in bed. It was nothing compared to how it used to be, but a pretty clear sign that things are getting bad again (not to mention the fact that I once again find myself whining to my husband mid-cycle about the cramps).

      So smart of you to give your body time to re-regulate before TTC. I know that the medical community no longer says it is a must, but I am always amazed at the amount of women who have taken that to mean that their body will automatically switch back to normal immediately. Hopefully the side-effects of going off will also clear up as your body figures out what’s up.

      And I think that you can tell from my blog that it is not TMI at all by my standards. I think that it is silly that it is socially acceptable for people to talk about the details of their sex life but not reproductive health!

  5. Pingback: Endometriosis and Me – Part I

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