Endometriosis and gut health: are they linked?

Written by Meredith East-Powell | 16 May, 2019

It seems as though gut health is implicated in so many diseases, and endometriosis is no exception. 

Endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seem to go hand-in-hand with many women who have endometriosis reporting this. In fact, one study found IBS is five times higher in women with endometriosis compared to women without endometriosis (1).

So why do women with endometriosis have a higher incidence of IBS?

Because the cause of endometriosis (or IBS, for that matter) isn’t fully understood it makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact reason. However, there are a few contributing factors that could lead to IBS in women with endometriosis:

How do I improve my gut health and my endometriosis?

Given the importance of gut health including the detoxification of hormones through the liver for endometriosis, it makes sense to suggest that improving gut health should improve both IBS and endometriosis symptoms. 

So where to begin? Reducing stress is a good place to start. Finding the root cause will help prioritise treatment. The prevalence of small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) in IBS patients is estimated to be high, present in approximately two thirds of patients (5). If SIBO is detected (currently it’s diagnosed through breath testing) then it is usually addressed through diet, nutraceuticals and possibly herbal antimicrobials. If SIBO isn’t the cause then a different strategy can be adopted through diet and supplements such as prebiotics and probiotics. 

There are a range of different diets that can help the symptoms of both endometriosis and IBS; a well-known diet is the Low FODMAP diet which works by reducing certain sugars which aren’t well absorbed in the intestine and can cause gut symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. 

Endometriosis and IBS are chronic conditions and while there’s currently no cure, the symptoms can definitely be treated. Working with a nutritionist is a good place to start, they can create a tailored diet, carry out testing where needed to identify nutrient deficiencies and other imbalances within the body and treat as needed.


Head to The Healing Yogi for more information on endometriosis and gut health.

References


Meredith East-Powell

Meredith is a Nutrition student at Endeavour College Brisbane. Meredith is a yoga teacher and is passionate about developing recipes that support a healthy gut. Meredith shares her gut and endometriosis friendly recipes on thehealingyogi.comand on Instagram @healingyogi. Meredith is also a volunteer at qendo.org.au where she supports anyone affected by endometriosis.

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