Can dietary changes reduce endometriosis-related pain? Original paper

In this nonrandomized pilot study, women with endometriosis experienced less pain and improved quality of life after switching to either a low-FODMAP diet or an endometriosis diet for 6 months.

This Study Summary was published on February 6, 2024.

Quick Summary

In this nonrandomized pilot study, women with endometriosis experienced less pain and improved quality of life after switching to either a low-FODMAP diet or an endometriosis diet for 6 months.

What was studied?

The effect of the low-FODMAP diet and endometriosis diet* on pain related to endometriosis (including dysmenorrhea symptoms, dyspareunia, and chronic pelvic pain) and quality of life.

Who was studied?

62 women in Amsterdam who experienced endometriosis-related pain on a scale of at least 3 out of 10 and whose pain was not resolved by their current medical treatment.

How was it studied?

In this 6-month prospective, nonrandomized pilot study, the participants chose to adhere to a low-FODMAP diet, the endometriosis diet, or no diet (control).

The outcomes were assessed using self-reported pain scores and a quality-of-life questionnaire before and after the diet intervention.

What were the results?

The participants who adhered to either diet experienced less bloating after 6 months, compared to the control (no diet) group. The participants who followed the low-FODMAP diet also reported less dyspareunia after 6 months, compared to the control group. However, dysmenorrhea and pelvic pain did not improve for any of the groups. Additionally, the participants who followed the 2 diets reported improved quality of life scores in the domains of social support and satisfaction with the medical profession over the same 6-month period.

Anything else I need to know?

The limitations of this study include the small sample size, lack of randomization, and lack of data on long-term outcomes.

*Standard endometriosis treatments, including hormone therapy and surgery, are often insufficient in resolving endometriosis-related symptoms and pain. The endometriosis diet is an experience-based diet developed by women with endometriosis in the Netherlands. It excludes several food groups, including gluten and dairy. Evidence on the efficacy of this diet is limited, and it is not recommended by dietitians.

This Study Summary was published on February 6, 2024.