Does a Gluten Free Diet Cure Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is  a common condition affecting as many as 10% of women in the U.S.  The condition occurs when cells from the inner uterus grow outside of the uterus in the abdominal cavity.  The cells are under the influence of hormones especially during menstruation.  During this time they are stimulated and subsequently inflammatory pain is often times a manifestation of the condition.  Other common symptoms linked to endometriosis are:

  • Painful abdominal cramps
  • Low back pain
  • Painful coitus (sex)
  • Pain with urination and urinary frequency
  • Infertility

Pelvic pain in women accounts for 10-40% of all gynecologic office visits.  A new research study found that the gluten free diet led to dramatic pelvic pain reduction in women suffering with endometriosis – begging the question – “Is endometriosis a manifestation of non celiac gluten sensitivity?”  Below is an excerpt from the study…

At 12 month follow-up, 156 patients (75%) reported statistically significant change in painful symptoms (P<0.005), 51 patients (25%) reported not improvement of symptoms. No patients reported worsening of pain. A considerable increase of scores for all domains of physical functioning, general health perception, vitality, social functioning, and mental health was observed in all patients (P<0.005).
CONCLUSION:  In our experience, painful symptoms of endometriosis decrease after 12 months of gluten free diet.

Source: Minerva Chir. 2012 Dec;67(6):499-504.

This is Not the Only Study Making A Connection Between Gluten and an Endometriosis Diet Correction

Other researchers have made the same correlation between those with celiac disease and endometriosis.  One published report found that a gluten free diet not only helped resolve endometriosis, the diet also corrected infertility.  Another study found a strong increased risk for of endometriosis in women with celiac disease.

Sources:

Hum Reprod. 2011 Oct;26(10):2896-901.

Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2014;41(3):346-8.

This is not the first time a gluten free diet has been shown to improved hormone issues…

Gluten has been shown to disrupt hormones in numerous research studies.  The following are common hormone based diseases influenced by the gluten free diet:

 Many Mechanisms Are At Play

Gluten induced hormone imbalance can occur via multiple mechanisms.

  1. Gluten can cause malabsorption of fat leading to female hormone deficiency
  2. Gluten can cause malabsorption of vitamins and minerals that help regulate blood sugar, thyroid hormone function, estrogen and progesterone balance, testosterone, cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, and growth hormone production.
  3. Gluten can cause inflammation that damages organs responsible for the production of hormones.
  4. Gluten can induce autoimmune reactions that lead to the body’s immune system attacking hormones, hormone receptors, and the organs responsible for producing hormones.
  5. Gluten can cause leaky gut contributing to immune system dysfunction and altered regulation.

Bottom line – if you have endometriosis, change your diet.  It might just be the answer to your problem.

Always looking out for you,

Dr. Osborne – The Gluten Free Warrior

15 thoughts on “Gluten and Endometriosis – Is There a Connection?

  1. Meghan says:

    I am just facinated that after my surgery to fix my uterine septum and repair stage two endo damage that has my left ovary stuck to my abdominal wall, and was blocking my right tube, when I asked the surgeon does diet play a role in this condition worsening? He said no, don’t believe what you read on the Internet. When now 7 months gluten free I have lost 15 pounds ( 115 lbs) and I feel the best I have ever felt my entire life. No more bloat, stomach discomfort, fullness, cramps have not been the worst they have been. It irritates me that they are so vague about this connection, even when I report back and tell them how much better I feel. Another director offered no insight on how the two may be connected. When and how will this change? It’s not right.

  2. Shilo says:

    I am 37 years old and have probably had endometriosis for 20 of those years. I say “probably” because I was only diagnosed in April of 2014 via laproscopic procedure. My General Practitioner (GP) just gave me pain meds for 20 years and never bothered to look any deeper. So when it came time to try and get pregnant it was virtually futile for us with male fertility issues and me having stage IV endo. We tried naturally for about 2 years with no success so on to IVF. I have done 2 egg retrievals and 3 frozen egg transfers (the 4th FET will be in Jan. 2016). I got tired of being told there is nothing I can do so I did a lot of research on endometriosis. I learned endo is thought to be an autoimmune disease and causes inflammation. So I moved on to what causes inflammation in the body? With that research I came to food. They are 3 main foods that can cause inflammation in some people (not all); sugar, dairy and wheat (gluten). So in Oct 2015 I decided to limit all 3 foods for one month (I felt better) but I knew there is no way I can live without all of these foods. So I added a bit of sugar back in my diet and still felt good, added a little dairy back and still felt good. The day I added wheat (gluten) back was the day I knew where the problem was. I felt awful for at least a week!! I have not been tested for Celiac Disease nor do I think I need to as I will never have gluten again. I have been gluten free for 3 months and here is why I feel better. I have more energy, I went from 128 lbs to 116 lbs in a month (that’s 10% of my body weight) and I wasn’t even trying to lose weight. My endo pain has decreased substantially. I used to be out of commission (fetal position wrapped around a heating pad on the couch) for the first 2 days of my cycle and now I can at least function like a normal human being on those 2 days with zero pain meds even. I am feeling optimistic for this next FET in Jan 2016 as I’ll be doing intralipids to boost my immune system and feel I have brought down so much of the inflammation through going gluten free. My advice is, stop masking the issue with medications and find out why you have the problem to begin with. Don’t be afraid to listen to you body and make the changes it’s asking for. ?

    • Kelissa says:

      Thank you for sharing this. It makes me feel better knowing know what actually triggers my cramps! I knew I was gluten sensitive but didn’t completely stay away from it. Now I will!!

    • Renee says:

      Hi Shilo, im just wondering how you went with your January IVF? Ive just had our 3rd round fail and think its time i look at going gluten and dairy free. I hope it worked for you. Good luck

    • Sara says:

      Hello, just saw your comment and it is almost exactly how I am affected by food. I’m wondering, were you able to conceive after going gluten free?

    • Deepa says:

      Thanks for sharing Shilo and all my of you. I am a 41 year old lady who has suffered from endometriosis for about 12 Years but wasn’t diagnosed until seven years ago. I also suffer from sciatica in my right leg and fibromyalgia.
      I do not have celiac disease but a new gynecologist I just saw recommended I try a gluten-free diet due to possible gluten sensitivity. For me, about 14 days before my menstrual cycle the pain I suffer from due to fibromyalgia; sciatica and endometriosis are extremely exacerbated. I also have had insomnia for too many years to count Since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. All the above pain during this 14 day time prior to my menstrual cycle Is exceptionally debilitating. I have a twin sister whom I live with and seeing me suffer with all the above the past 12 years has also taken a toll on her. We are so connected that it mentally and physically has drained her out. This saddens me even more. Anyhow, does anyone also suffer from fibromyalgia and endometriosis together? I also heard a gluten-free diet is beneficial for the stuffing from fibromyalgia pain. Thoughts on that? Also, can anyone steer me in the right direction on how to start my gluten-free diet or what would be the best website to go to to gear me towards eating the right gluten free foods. I have a Trader Joe’s nearby, however the new gynecologist I went to said that most of the packages must say certified gluten-free on it. At Trader Joe’s, all of the packages say gluten-free but are not certified. Is it OK to eat those foods? I also have access to Earth fare. Oddly enough, the gynecologist I saw also indicated that gluten is in some toothpastes. I was shocked. For those of you who have been on a gluten-free diet and it has worked, please send resources and personal recommendations. Thank you so much for your time. I Keep great hope and wish everyone symptoms and improve quality-of-life👍😊
      Ps I am also currently on the road thyroxine for hypothyroidism/Hashimoto disease. Recently my Endocrinologist indicated that also in the levothyroxin pill I take daily. He indicated it’s a small amount but is not an expert in gluten-free diets. Any expertise or any thoughts on this? Is anyone else taking Levothyroxin? Thanks again!

    • Deepa says:

      Thanks for sharing ladies. I can greatly empathize with your frustrations and tribulations. I have who has suffered from endometriosis for about 12 Years but wasn’t diagnosed until seven years ago. I also suffer from sciatica in my right leg and fibromyalgia.
      I do not have celiac disease but a new gynecologist I just saw recommended I try a gluten-free diet due to possible gluten sensitivity. For me, about 14 days before my menstrual cycle the pain I suffer from due to fibromyalgia; sciatica and endometriosis are extremely exacerbated. I also have had insomnia for too many years to count Since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. All the above pain during this 14 day time prior to my menstrual cycle Is exceptionally debilitating. Anyhow, does anyone also suffer from fibromyalgia and endometriosis together? I also heard a gluten-free diet is beneficial for the those suffering from fibromyalgia pain. Thoughts on that? Also, can anyone steer me in the right direction on how to start my gluten-free diet or what would be the best website to go to to gear me towards eating the right gluten free foods. I have a Trader Joe’s nearby, however the new gynecologist I went to said that most of the packages must say certified gluten-free on it (she herself suffers from celiac disease) At Trader Joe’s, all of the packages say gluten-free but are not certified. Is it OK to eat those foods? I also have access to Earth fare. Oddly enough, the gynecologist I saw also indicated that gluten is in some toothpastes. I was shocked. For those of you who have been on a gluten-free diet and it has worked, please send resources and personal recommendations. Thank you so much for your time. I Keep great hope and wish everyone symptoms and improve quality-of-life👍😊
      Ps I am also currently on the road thyroxine for hypothyroidism/Hashimoto disease. Recently my Endocrinologist indicated that also in the levothyroxin pill I take daily. He indicated it’s a small amount but is not an expert in gluten-free diets. Any expertise or any thoughts on this? Is anyone else taking Levothyroxin? Thanks again!

    • Toni Lane Doughman-Burdette says:

      How did your IVF go? I have been reading into the intralipid infusion.
      Were you seeing an re?
      Reproductive immunologist?
      Very curious to hear your response.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I have suffered endo since diagnosis at 18yrs of age. I am now 40 years old. I have been in and out of hospital most of this time with chronic digestion and bowel issues and women’s problems. My whole life has been blighted and I have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, pancreatitis, acid reflux, hernia, irritable bowel syndrome, I could go on. I have suffered water infections for 3 years straight. I developed a rash and after a year of hot itchy weeping blister like sores I through elimination discovered wheat/gluten was the cause. I have been totally 100% gluten free since and I can without a doubt attest that every single illness and symptom has totally vanished. I now have not one health issue which is a miracle after all this time. They have diagnosed celiac and I now know every health issue was related. I am gutted it has meant 25 years of illness but on the other hand so delighted to be finally 100% well.

    • says:

      Stephanie,
      So happy you found an answer to your chronic health problems. Thanks for sharing your story with everyone!
      All the best,
      Dr. O

  4. carrie says:

    I am 35 yrs. old and I’ve know at least since I was 23 that I have Endo and Until I met Dr.Uthman Cavallo. I did not understand it and never realized the servarity of it . He put me on metformin two yrs. ago and 3 moths after he put me on it for my endo I had a liposcop surgrey my endo was so bad he put me on a serious gluten free diet and explain what it was doing to me I was thinking i could not have kids because of it but the metformin helps to reverse the symptoms and helped me ovulate do to my endo i was so off 5 months after my surgrey and a half gluten free diet I got prego with my 1sy child after yrs. of trying I say to everyone take it seriously because it can only cause you harm and gluten free diet is best Dr.Uthman Cavallo is my mircle worker I am true blessed to have had god put him in my path my endo was so bad and i feel better .

  5. Connie Ricker says:

    I was diagnosed at age 20 with endo and the Dr. never told me I had it after surgery for an egg size cyst removal. I found out at age 29 when experiencing infertility and ordered my medical records at my new gyno. None of the doctors ever told me about diet and pain management and just pushed pain meds on me until I said no more! I have suffered with this since my teens and now at age 53 have changed my diet and lost 25 lbs. I am perimenopausal now and no children after 2 surgeries and years of being bedridden with all the symptoms,pain and depression. I am going to completely change my diet to see what happens. Shame on you bad drs.

  6. Deepa says:

    I am a 41 year old lady who has suffered from endometriosis for about 12 Years but wasn’t diagnosed until seven years ago. I also suffer from sciatica in my right leg and fibromyalgia.
    I do not have celiac disease but a new gynecologist I just saw recommended I try a gluten-free diet due to possible gluten sensitivity. For me, about 14 days before my menstrual cycle the pain I suffer from due to fibromyalgia; sciatica and endometriosis are extremely exacerbated. I also have had insomnia for too many years to count Since my diagnosis of fibromyalgia. All the above pain during this 14 day time prior to my menstrual cycle Is exceptionally debilitating. I have a twin sister whom I live with and seeing me suffer with all the above the past 12 years has also taken a toll on her. We are so connected that it mentally and physically has drained her out. This saddens me even more. Anyhow, does anyone also suffer from fibromyalgia and endometriosis together? I also heard a gluten-free diet is beneficial for the stuffing from fibromyalgia pain. Thoughts on that? Also, can anyone steer me in the right direction on how to start my gluten-free diet or what would be the best website to go to to gear me towards eating the right gluten free foods. I have a Trader Joe’s nearby, however the new gynecologist I went to said that most of the packages must say certified gluten-free on it. At Trader Joe’s, all of the packages say gluten-free but are not certified. Is it OK to eat those foods? I also have access to Earth fare. Oddly enough, the gynecologist I saw also indicated that gluten is in some toothpastes. I was shocked. For those of you who have been on a gluten-free diet and it has worked, please send resources and personal recommendations. Thank you so much for your time. I Keep great hope and wish everyone symptoms and improve quality-of-life👍😊
    Ps I am also currently on the road thyroxine for hypothyroidism/Hashimoto disease. Recently my Endocrinologist indicated that also in the levothyroxin pill I take daily. He indicated it’s a small amount but is not an expert in gluten-free diets. Any expertise or any thoughts on this? Is anyone else taking Levothyroxin? Thanks again!

    • Sandra DeMarsh says:

      Hi Deepa, I just joined the website after seeing your post and though my reply is in response to your post from 2 years ago, I hope it is unneeded and that you have found your answers and a better state of health by now….If not, there are a couple things I want to point out that are all speculation but may really help you on a road to recovery. Firstly, if a doctor is trying to put you on a Certified Gluten Free diet, that just screams that they suspect Celiacs Disease or a severe allergy. I have worked in the medical field myself and still had to find my own answers after a lifetime of illness only to find that they were all caused by celiacs and I lead a much more manageable life now. As for your symptoms, I would take another look at Celiacs if you haven’t yet bc undiagnosed it can lead to many other autoimmune concurrent diseases, including the Hashimoto’s thyroid disease that you mentioned, along with Type 1 Diabetes, Lupus, Colitis, and an endless list. It can cause brain fog and depression and easy fatigue, muscle pain, and fibromyalgia-like symptoms. There is also research supporting it’s link to insomnia and endometriosis. You would be a prime candidate for further investigation. I warn you though that it is HARD to diagnose and even most doctors are unaware of this. A colonoscopy is not enough and neither is the blood test checking for a Celiacs Reactive Antibody bc you have to be on a heavy gluten diet to show the inflammation and even then, it still has a 50% error rate. A DNA test and small intestine biopsy done by a GI specialist who knows what to look for (I would call and ask before even scheduling) would be the best ways to diagnose (and obviously resolution or drastic improvement of symptoms after 2-3 months on a Certified GF diet). I personally did a 23andMe test online when I first suspected celiacs after trying a certified gluten free diet bc I lost my faith in the healthcare system and was not surprised when it came back positive. I noticed a huge difference already by week 2-4 on the diet but it had to be certified. I tried just GF before and it did not work for me bc I had celiacs and not gluten sensitivity. For celiacs, you have to get new cookware (bc gluten lingers in any seared in pans/skillets/grills and any cookware/plastic bowls/porous material that is heated or scratched), keep a scrubbed down clean kitchen (gluten can only be washed away, not broken down with just desanitizing so don’t wash dishes in the same water with gluten contaminated ones), and go certified and for some celiacs Corn Free too (there is no gliadin or gluten in corn but a smaller percent of celiacs have a similar immune reaction to it like they do to gliadin but it is actually like a cross sensitivity and they are reacting to the prolamins/zeins in corn). I really hope you don’t have it and that your symptoms are improved by now but if not, I urge you to take at least 2 weeks up to 3 months out of your life to try a certified GF diet without corn….and I mean Everything certified, from what to drink to what you eat. Whole foods, Sprouts, and sometimes Kroger are good for certified GF Breakfast Sausages and Whole Foods for Chicken Sausage-Chicken Brats. All the food stores now have certified snacks but some of the best without corn are Kinnick Kinnick and Pamela’s (my favs are her fig newton imitations and cinnamon Graham crackers). LOVE PAMELAS (can get through Amazon too). The best bread I personally like is Canyon Bakehouse esp their Wide Slice Honey White or Mt White. Canyon Bake & Aldi’s Live G’ Free both have certified GF and corn free bagels. You can find certified GF pasta in any store. Costco & their Kirkland Signature brand has many great bulk options for Almond flour, Chips, Nut Choc bars, Joneys Valley Canadian Bacon etc and they carry pasta alt options as well. Walmart is growing too and they also have the Jones Valley Canadian Bacon that I use instead of ham on sandwiches and Vermont Creamery at Walmart and Publix has Certified GF butter, marscarpone, goat cheeses, cremont cheese, etc. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve found gluten in and gotten sick off of for a week or more including many cheeses, olive oil, occasionally butter and many meats that are not raw cuts (even those careful if they are prepared or cut behind a counter that also makes premade food, burgers etc and handles flour or gluten stuff in the same room). Most studies like NIH calculate about 1 in 266 ppl have celiacs but estimate it’s really 1 in 100 in the U.S. It is even higher in other countries like Scandinavia, esp places like Finland where they have 70% of the population with it, Brazil, and others. I hope the information and suggestions help and if not, maybe they’ll be useful for someone else. Best of luck and wish you well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Send this to a friend