Gluten and Endometriosis - Is There a Connection? | Gluten-Free Society

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    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

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    Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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    3 responses 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!!

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