Soothe Endometriosis Symptoms With These 5 Simple Dietary Changes

Chances are you or someone you know has endometriosis, a notoriously painful and chronic condition that can negatively impact quality of life with symptoms like heavy periods, fertility problems, and countless other health issues. 

Nutrition & lifestyle have always played a central role in promoting optimal health. In the case of endometriosis, the right type of diet can significantly improve symptoms like pain, and may even be able to address conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, which is common with endometriosis.

Learn more about conditions we treat: Endometriosis

How does diet affect endometriosis?

Diet helps manage endometriosis by regulating inflammation and estrogen levels in the body. Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition that occurs when endometrial tissue, which normally only resides inside the uterus, is located elsewhere in the abdomen, like the ovaries, intestines, or even the bladder.

Endometrial tissue, no matter where it’s located in your body, then responds to the same hormonal changes that your period does. This can cause debilitating pain as well as the buildup of scar tissue known as adhesions.

Studies have found that a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and healthy fats may help reduce painful endometriosis related symptoms (1). In addition, some studies have shown that certain foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc can help reduce inflammation and promote hormone balance.

Endometriosis Gets Worse with Excess Estrogen

Endometriosis is often a condition of estrogen dominance. Endometrial tissue is sensitive to estrogen, causing the tissue to thicken and spread. This leads to more inflammation and pain as the condition progresses.

While doctors are still working to understand what triggers endometriosis initially, we do know there is a link between endometriosis and estrogen dominance.

Factors that contribute to excess estrogen are:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Leaky gut or dysbiosis
  • Environmental toxins
  • PCOS

Related: 10 Signs You Have Estrogen Dominance

Anti-inflammatory endometriosis diet

The most important part of an endo diet is to avoid inflammatory foods, and prioritize eating anti-inflammatory foods. Certain nutrients can also help metabolize excess estrogen.

Eat more fiber-rich foods

Estrogen leaves the body via bowel movements, so getting enough fiber is key to promoting the regularity that helps detox excess estrogen (2). If you regularly experience constipation (not having a comfortable bowel movement every day), you likely have excess estrogen that could be worsening endometriosis symptoms.

Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, with plenty of water. The easiest way to do this is stick to a whole-foods diet with an abundance of plant-based foods. The most fiber-rich fruits and vegetables include broccoli, pears, raspberries, lentils. If you’re in need of more fiber, try adding ground flax seeds to a smoothie or oatmeal.

Get pre- and probiotics

Friendly bacteria in the gut promote healthy estrogen levels, and reduce the number of bad bacteria that convert estrogen into more damaging forms.

These friendly bacteria also support overall digestive function, help resolve inflammation, and absorb nutrients. Fuel your microbiome with prebiotics such as fiber, and probiotics—which are live bacteria found in fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and miso.

Learn more: Healing Your Gut After Antibiotics—4 Steps

Focus on anti-inflammatory fats

The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fight inflammation in the body, which is why they are important for endometriosis (3). These foods are also important sources of other nutrients like zinc, selenium, and vitamin A.

Good food sources of omega-3s include:

  • Cold water fish & seafood such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, mussels, and oysters
  • Grass-fed beef and lamb
  • Pasture-raised eggs
  • Olives & olive oil
  • Avocado & avocado oil
  • Flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds

Adding an omega-3 supplement to your diet can also help reduce inflammation.

Eat more broccoli, cauliflower, & Brussels sprouts

Cruciferous vegetables are naturally rich in a sulfur-containing compound called diindolylmethane or DIM. DIM supports the function of liver enzymes that assist in estrogen metabolism. Avoiding estrogen dominance is important to reduce pain and painful periods associated with PMS. Cruciferous veggies also contain 

indole-3-carbinol, or I3C. IC3 has been shown to reduce how much estrogen is available in the body by promoting detoxification (4). These vegetables are also a great source of fiber and vitamins necessary for hormone balance. Aim for about 1-2 cups of cooked cruciferous vegetables per day.

Up your antioxidants

A diet high in antioxidants may help reduce endometriosis symptoms. One study examined the effects of an antioxidant cocktail containing n-acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid, bromelain, and zinc to control endometriosis-associated pelvic pain. The results showed the combination of antioxidants improved the pain score in 91% of women with severe pain and 67% of those with moderate pain (5). 

Foods rich in antioxidants are berries, beets, artichokes, cherries, leafy greens, and even dark chocolate.

Foods to avoid

You should avoid inflammatory foods, or foods that slow down estrogen detox in the gut or in the liver. Foods that may promote inflammation include:

  • Refined sugars & carbohydrates
  • Excess caffeine and alcohol
  • Ultra-processed foods
  • Non-organic soy, meats, and dairy products

Symptoms of endometriosis may also improve with a gluten-free diet.

Learn more: Painful Periods? You Might Have Endometriosis—Here’s What to Know

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Endometriosis Diet Recipes

If you or someone in your household is learning to manage endometriosis symptoms, these recipes are great examples of how to incorporate more anti-inflammatory, hormone-friendly foods into a healthy diet.

Tangy Beet Salad

Beets are an antioxidant powerhouse and a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds like betaine. They also provide support for detox pathways in the liver (5). 


Makes 4 servings

  • 3 large beets, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 5 ounces seasonal salad greens (this is about one small clamshell package)
  • ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
  • Pumpkin or sunflower seeds


  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or monk fruit sweetener if desired 


Add beets to a vegetable steamer basket inside a medium-sized pot. Add sufficient water to the bottom and bring to a boil. Cook beets, covered, until tender—about 12-15 minutes. When finished, cool in the refrigerator.

Rinse the salad greens if not pre-washed, and add to a large bowl. Add the cooled beets and crumbled cheese. Make the dressing by combining the orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar (optional) and salt in a small bowl and whisk. Drizzle over the salad just before serving. Top with pumpkin or sunflower seeds.

Faux Fried Coconut Chicken with Honey Mustard

This high-protein recipe is great if you’re following a gluten-free diet, but still craving crispy, crunchy fried chicken.


  • 1-½ cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or legs

Dipping Sauce

  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the paper with coconut oil or ghee.

In a shallow bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, coconut, garlic powder, paprika, and garlic salt. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs.

Dip each chicken piece in the egg wash, then coat evenly with the flour mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Bake for 14 to 20 minutes, turning once, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 165°F and the juices run clear.

To make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, blend together the mustard and honey. Serve the chicken with the dipping sauce.

Almond Milk Chia Pudding


  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey (optional) 


Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix until combined. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to chill and thicken for 2-3 hours or overnight. Serve with fresh fruit, coconut flakes, and/or a drizzle of honey (optional).

Gut-Healing Bone Broth

Bone broth is rich in minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants that protect the gut and reduce inflammation, which may ease endometriosis pain.


  • 3 pounds chicken, lamb, goat, or beef bones
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2–3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter
  • 1 rib celery, chopped (optional)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 quarts water


In a medium pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stockpot over medium heat, combine the bones, onion, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, salt, and oil, ghee, or butter. If using, also add the celery and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Add the water. If using a pressure cooker, cook under pressure for 8 to 10 minutes. If using a slow cooker or cooking on the stove, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low. Simmer for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to 48 hours if using poultry; up to 72 hours for beef or lamb. A longer simmer time allows for greater collagen breakdown from the bones. 

Once done simmering, strain the broth and discard the solids. Allow to cool, or use in other recipes that call for broth or stock. The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

Functional medicine for endometriosis

If you are one of the millions of women who suffer from endometriosis, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Making dietary changes is an important part of managing endometriosis. An anti-inflammatory diet that is high in fiber, prebiotics, probiotics, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. With time, you may find that the right diet can make a world of difference for your endometriosis.

It’s important to talk to your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet, especially if you are taking any medications or have certain medical conditions.




endometriosis, estrogen dominance, Hormone imbalance, hormones, nutrition

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