Fast forward a good 20 years and we still don’t have a cure for endo, and we don’t have what I or World Health Organization 4 would consider effective treatments for the disease.
But I’m not surprised. In 2022, the National Institutes of Health devoted less than 0.1% of its research funding to research on this chronic disease. 1:105 in women born of reproductive age, significantly impairs the quality of life 6, and costs the United States an estimated $22 billion a year in lost productivity. (FYI, in rare cases, people assigned as male at birth can also have endo.)
Like many people with endo who are at a loss for care and treatment, I had to do my own research. I found that dietary changes, while not a cure, can help relieve endometriosis symptoms. In the early days, the prevailing wisdom regarding diet and Endo was to go Vegan.
The simplified theory was that eat something animal products 7, such as red meat, can promote the production of prostaglandins. Although prostaglandins are vital to the body, when produced in excess, they can cause the uterus (and its endometrial-like tissue) to contract, leading to pain and cramping. In addition, prostaglandins are confused8 In the pathophysiology of endo.
Having become a vegan in 2001, I can tell you that a vegan diet does not always correspond to a healthy diet. Even though I was eating plenty of fruits and veggies, I was also eating lots of processed carbs like pasta, rice, cereal, bread, etc. So that vegan diet wasn’t necessarily helping me. Actually, it may have made the situation worse9.