"Good Morning Ma’am,
I am writing to you today because I desperately need your help. I had met you recently, as my husband and I have been trying to conceive a child for some time now, without any luck. After we met with you, we had started following the diet that you had prescribed for us, and we started having luck with the weight loss that you had suggested. A few days ago I went back to the fertility specialist, and she had asked me to do a few more tests and a scan. Once we received the results, we went back and met with her, and she told me that one of the reasons why we were finding it so difficult to conceive, was that I had Endometriosis.
Dear Ma’am, after I had met with you, I was really happy with the session, as you helped me understand what was possibly going on, and you gave me tips, on how to move forward. I hope that you will be able to help me understand my diagnosis, and guide me on how to modify my diet so that I am able to manage the pain and discomfort that I have.
Thanks a lot
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A diagnosis is not the end of the world. For most of us, a diagnosis can be a relief, so that we can begin a proper treatment regimen, to help us get better, or even if it is just to manage a condition, to keep the person suffering from it in as much comfort as possible.
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For most ladies who have been diagnosed with or live with endometriosis, it is categorized with almost chronic abdominal pain, which worsens a lot during the menstrual cycle. So let us learn a little more about the condition so that we can help not only ourselves but also those around us, because for most of the patients with this condition, providing even a little relief can take them a long way, in making them comfortable.
Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease wherein tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This tissue behaves like the tissue which grows in the uterus (it thickens, breaks down, and sheds) like the tissue that lines the uterus during menstrual cycles. However, there is no way of this tissue exiting the body and hence it results in internal bleeding, inflammation, bowel problems, infertility, scar tissue formation, and adhesions, etc.
Endometriosis can be mistaken for other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or fibroids. It may also be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of diarrhoea, constipation and abdominal cramping. And IBS can accompany endometriosis, which can complicate the diagnosis.
Must Read: Finding the END in ENDometriosis
If you experience any endometriosis symptoms, talk with your doctor about whether your symptoms might be caused by endometriosis. This is especially true if you experience several or more such symptoms, which may more strongly suggest endometriosis. Come to your appointment ready to discuss your symptoms and when they occur, including the location of your pain, if any.
There is no identified cause for endometriosis. Some possible causes may include:
menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. These displaced endometrial cells stick to the pelvic walls and surfaces of pelvic organs, where they grow and continue to thicken and bleed over the course of each menstrual cycle.
hormones or immune factors promote the transformation of peritoneal cells-cells that line the inner side of your abdomen-into endometrial cells
After surgery, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells may attach to a surgical incision.
The blood vessels or tissue fluid (lymphatic) system may transport endometrial cells to other parts of the body.
A problem with the immune system may make the body unable to recognize and destroy endometrial tissue that's growing outside the uterus.
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Several factors place you at greater risk of developing endometriosis, such as:
Endometriosis usually develops several years after the onset of menstruation (menarche). Signs and symptoms of endometriosis may temporarily improve with pregnancy and may go away completely with menopause.
Treatment for endometriosis usually involves medication or surgery. The approach you and your doctor choose will depend on how severe your signs and symptoms are and whether you hope to become pregnant. Doctors typically recommend trying conservative treatment approaches first, opting for surgery if initial treatment fails.
If your pain persists or if finding a treatment that works takes some time, you can try measures at home to relieve your discomfort. Warm baths and a heating pad can help relax pelvic muscles, reducing cramping and pain.
Must Read: Change your diet before planning for a baby
Since there is no specified cause for endometriosis, it is important to adhere to a diet that focuses on variety and balance for optimal nutrition. The focus should be on consuming a diet balanced in all five groups, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains.
1. Food Group:
Cereals and Grains
9-10 servings a day (one serving = 30 g cooked grains)
Brown rice, basmati or long-grain rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oats, and their products.
Whole grains have added B- vitamins added fiber to promote a healthy digestive tract and reduce spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation.
2. Food Group:
pulses and Legumes
2-3 servings per day (one serving = 30 g cooked beans or legumes)
Chickpeas (channa), black-eyed peas(lobia), green-gram (mung), Black-gram (urad),kidney beans (rajmah), Green peas, and lentils etc.
Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, and potassium and soluble fiber. They are low- glycemic-load foods to stabilize blood sugars.
3. Food Group:
Lean Meat, Fish, Poultry, and Eggs
2-3 servings per week (one serving = 50 g of poultry or skinless meat, fish, or seafood)
High-quality skinless poultry, eggs salmon, sardines, tuna (preferably freshwater fish, of a lower weight, or smaller size)
Lean meats are lower in saturated fat to better control cholesterol levels. Fish is rich in Omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory. Choose higher fat, deep-sea fish as they have greater intakes of Omega- 3s.
4. Food Group:
Milk and Milk Products
3 servings a day (one serving = 100 ml of milk or a milk product made with an equivalent amount of milk)
Low-fat cheeses, low-fat curd or yogurt, cottage cheese, double toned milk.
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines that contribute to possible inflammation associated with endometriosis. Choose organic dairy products to reduce the number of hormones added to your foods.
5. Food products:
4-5 servings per day minimum (one serving = 100 of greens or any other vegetables cooked)
Dark leafy greens (spinach( palak), fenugreek leaves (methi), Amaranth(chauli bhaji), drumstick leaves (moringa leaves), dill leaves (shepu/ suva bhaji),etc.)cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower), carrots, beets, onion, peas, squashes, washed raw salad greens
Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Aim for a plate that’s colourful in vegetables to get a wide variety of vitamins, including A, E, and C as studies have shown these vitamins to be lower in endometriosis patients.
6. Food Products:
1-2 servings per day (one serving = 100g or 1 medium size piece of fruit)
Strawberries, oranges, sweet limes, grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, cherries, Indian gooseberry (amla), apples, and pears all have a lower glycemic index.
Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Aim for variety in colour to get a wide variety of nutrients, including A, E, and C. When possible, choose organic for reduced pesticide residue that has been associated with hormone imbalances
Nuts and Seeds
1-2 servings a day (one serving = 2 walnuts, 1 tablespoon of flaxseed)
Almonds, walnuts, ground flaxseed, pecans, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pistachio, groundnut, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Nuts and seeds are high in Omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory. They are excellent sources of B-vitamins in addition to phosphorus.
8. Food products:
2-4 servings a day (one serving= 1 teaspoon (5 ml)of oil); with a monthly outer limit of 500ml per adult per month
sunflower oil, rice bran oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, flaxseed oils, nut-based oils
How to use:
Drizzle cold-pressed oils on salads, over vegetables for roasting or sautéing, or even popcorn! Mix organic butter with a cold-pressed oil for a healthier spread.
Oils are high in Omega-3s and antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. They are also rich in monounsaturated fats that raise good cholesterol (HDLs) and lower bad cholesterol (LDLs). Expelled cold-pressed oil is best since it is not chemically treated and heated at lower temperatures to extract the oil. When cooking with oil, use lower temperatures as higher temperatures increase the production of trans-fat.
9. Food Products:
Alcohol, Caffeine, Processed Foods, and Sweets
1-2 servings per week, sparingly
Processed foods, fried foods, fast-food, caffeine in sodas or sugary sweetened beverages, alcohol
These types of foods have no nutritional value and added sugar which can prevent other vital nutrients from being absorbed. Caffeine and alcohol have been thought to impair ovarian function, aggravate PMS symptoms, and negatively affect infertility. Sweets are pro-inflammatory and should be limited.
What to eat instead? Healthier sweet substitutes can include small servings of dark chocolate, dried fruit, frozen yogurt, and fruit sorbet.
10. Food products:
3-4 L of water, in a day
Pure water, or drinks that are mostly water, such as tea or sparkling water with lemon.
Water is vital for the overall proper functioning of the body and removes metabolic waste products.
To Know More: About Role of Vitamin D in Pregnancy Diet