What if we could relieve the pain by changing our diet?

“I had the impression that an army was plowing my stomach and back all the time, summarizes Véronique, 43, suffering from endometriosis. Today, I manage to be surprised by my period! This young woman has regained her joie de vivre, her libido, has lost 30 kg and can go to work on menstruation days. His secret? She completely changed her diet.

If endometriosis is often reduced to pain during menstruation, some women suffer all the time and 35% of them at least have digestive disorders. However, in recent years, some patients have changed their menus and have seen a marked improvement in their daily lives. They no longer have any bloating, diarrhea and other digestive problems. Others not even feeling any pain anymore…

“From the moment you have a profit, it is no longer a sacrifice”

In 2017, Véronique was out of therapeutic solution and suffered martyrdom, her gynecologist having recommended stopping the pill continuously. It is thanks to discussion forums on endometriosis that she discovers this little-known track: food can have an effect on the disease.

“I started by removing dairy products, explains the one who now leads the Endocorp’s facebook group. In three weeks, it was a revolution. Then I turned to the rawest products possible, even though I didn’t know how to cook an egg! I had to learn to cook to save my life. No need to be a cordon bleu! For me, what worked was to decrease cereals and increase fruits, vegetables, spices and good oils. »

A hyperselective diet familiar to Priscilla Saracco, 28, member of Endomind. “I don’t eat refined sugar at all, no more dairy products, no more red meat. It’s very complicated in the society in which we live! »

“From the moment you have a profit, it is no longer a sacrifice, reassures Véronique. Between pain for three weeks and a piece of camembert, there is no comparison! I experience it as a deliverance. I am not for or against drugs, I am for having a life. »

How to explain the link between diet and endometriosis?

In-depth modification of one’s plate is an alternative method advocated by dietitian nutritionist Fabien Piasco, author of numerous books, including The anti-endometriosis diet*. “When my book was published in 2017, some patients who spoke to their gynecologist about diet were insulted, he regrets. Since then, interest in this subject has clearly increased. In my books, I explained point by point how diet can affect the appearance of endometriosis, its development and sometimes its improvement. »

In summary, three axes can explain this improvement in the quality of life. “Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease and inflammation is a promoter of endometriosis, insists Fabien Piasco. With diet, we can strongly limit, and by many means, inflammation, it has been proven in many diseases! This reduces a first fertilizer which favors a breeding ground for the disease.

Limit animal fats, choose organic

Second aspect: oxidative stress, linked to free radicals, increases endometriosis. We can therefore consume antioxidants, for example certain vitamins C and E, polyphenols [présents dans les fruits rouges, les épices, les légumes colorés] which will reduce this oxidative stress. A second fertilizer is removed. Especially since oxidative stress and inflammation are a vicious circle: one leads to the other. »

Third element: endocrine disruptors. Because women with endometriosis usually have too much estrogen, not enough progesterone. “However, endocrine disruptors, which mimic estrogen, come mainly from food, continues the dietitian. A very large number of them are possibly involved in this disease: dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, phthalates… The food choices to reduce them are vast: limit the animal fats which accumulate them, avoid buying in plastic, never reheat in a plastic container, choose organic. »

“Today, there are no official recommendations on food”

But is the link between diet and endometriosis scientifically proven? “There are observational studies that reveal links between certain foods and the risk of developing the disease: red meat, cold cuts… While foods rich in omega-3, such as fruits and vegetables, are protective, underlines the dietician specializing in the matter. In addition, two intervention studies (which measure the impact of a change) show that stopping gluten relieves pelvic pain from endometriosis: 3 out of 4 women no longer have pain. »

But there is currently no clinical trial that could ensure that a global anti-endometriosis diet (gluten-free, dairy-free, red meat-free, etc.) would be effective in relieving digestive and pelvic pain. “Today, there is no official recommendation on diet for patients with this disease, because the rate of proof is not considered sufficient, he acknowledges. But some patients who put all this advice together say that their daily life is transformed. So why not try ? Knowing that modern medicine does not find a cure. »

What should be prioritized?

The dietician advises to first proceed with a test to check that you are not intolerant to gluten. Then limit or even eliminate certain foods and see if this diet relieves after three cycles without pills. The ideal is to have the least industrial diet possible, organic and based on fruits, vegetables, whole products, poultry, fish, omega 3 eggs (from hens fed with flax seeds), nuts, avocados, olives , olive oil, rapeseed oil, brown and black rice, legumes according to tolerance…

“It’s very different from what we usually eat, but we’re not going to starve! Reassures the dietitian. On the other hand, one could fall into eating disorders or lack protein or calcium. It is therefore important to be followed by a dietitian. “At best, trained on this still little-known disease. “The important thing is that the patient can analyze what hurts her or not, in order to be able to adapt, suggests Priscilla. There is clearly a need for research on all companion therapies. An idea for the research program that the government has just announced?

* A sixth edition, updated, was published in October 2021, Test Edition, €27.50.

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