Fast-forward over 20 years, and we still don’t have a cure for endo, and we don’t have what I, or the World Health Organization4 for that matter, would consider effective treatments for the condition.
But I’m not surprised. By 2022, the National Institutes of Health will spend less than 0.1% of their research funding on the study of this chronic condition that 1 in 105 people assigned woman at birth of childbearing age, significantly reduces quality of life6, and costs the United States an estimated $22 billion a year in lost productivity. (FYI: In rare cases, people assigned male at birth may also have endo.)
Like many people with endo who have been let down regarding treatment and care, I had to do my own research. I found that dietary changes, while not a cure, can help relieve endometriosis symptoms. In the early s, the prevailing wisdom regarding nutrition and endo was to go vegan.
The simplified theory was that some food animal products7, such as red meat, could stimulate prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins, while crucial to the body, when overproduced can cause the uterus (and that endometrial-like tissue) to contract, leading to pain and cramping. Plus, prostaglandins are involved8 in the pathophysiology of endo.
As someone who went vegan way back in 2001, I can tell you that a vegan diet doesn’t always equate to a healthy diet. While I ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables, I also consumed a lot of processed carbohydrates, such as pasta, rice, cereal, bread, etc. So that vegan diet didn’t necessarily help me. In fact, it may have made it worse9.