Carolinas HealthCare System
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Diet and Exercise Tips to Alleviate Endometriosis Symptoms

Treating endometriosis doesn’t have to be intimidating. Making a few simple lifestyle changes to your diet and exercise habits can greatly reduce those agonizing, sometimes even debilitating, symptoms, like sharp pelvic pain, abdominal cramping and painful bowel movements.

The Good News about Exercise and Endometriosis

By lowering your body’s estrogen levels and pelvic inflammation, regular exercise can help prevent early development of endometriosis. And, once diagnosed, medium to high intensity exercise has been shown to minimize some of the condition’s worst symptoms. Running and cycling are two great estrogen-lowering options.

Even 20 to 30 minutes of walking increases blood flow to the pelvis, which in turn decreases painful inflammatory hormones caused by endometriosis. Gentle yoga has also been shown to stretch pelvic tissues and muscles, not to mention reduce inflammation-building stress.

Endometriosis Diet Dos and Don’ts

As with any medical condition, knowing and understanding your diet intake can make a significant difference in caring for your body. While we still don’t have a cure for endometriosis, we do understand how the disease behaves and what triggers the symptoms.

“The key is to choose foods that help soothe symptoms while avoiding those that aggravate them,” said Elizabeth S. Morgan, MD, of Women’s Center for Pelvic Health, part of Carolinas HealthCare System.

Say yes to:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds)
  • Fiber-rich foods (raspberries, navy beans, almonds)
  • Vegetables (kale, cabbage, cauliflower)

Hold off on:

  • Meat and dairy (especially non-organic, hormone-infused products)
  • Wheat and sugar (or other refined foods)
  • Alcohol and caffeine

If you think you may have endometriosis, your OB/GYN physicians can help diagnosis and co-manage your condition with our endometriosis specialists. There are a variety of treatment options including medical management, alternative therapy and surgery. If you do not have an OB/GYN physician and would like help finding one, call 704-355-7500.