FODMAPs and Endometriosis
In my past week of study at IIN the topic was on gluten. I was pleasantly surprised to see a tidbit about the connection between endometriosis pain and gluten.
The rationality behind the fact that cutting gluten helps endometriosis relates to the inflammation it causes globally in your body. Eliminating gluten is also said to help with nerve pain, which is common with endometriosis.
Further along one of the presenters brought up the suggestion that FODMAPs often worsen endometriosis symptoms. This was the first time I had seen this acronym so I looked into it further.
The acronym breaks down as follows:
If you are like me then this means very little, Lol 🙂
To break it down a little more, FODMAPs include food or drink containing lactose (dairy), fructose from certain fruits and sweeteners, fructans in certain foods like wheat, onion, and garlic, galactans from beans, lentils and legumes, and polyols from certain fruits and sweeteners.
What’s the Deal with FODMAPs?
FODMAPs are a family of short chain carbohydrates that are poorly digested or absorbed in your small intestine.
These FODMAPs that don’t absorb in your small intestine then pass into your large intestine. In presence of gut bacteria in your large intestine, these FODMAPs become highly fermentable and pathogenic.
This results in gas, bloating, cramping and further digestive distress.
FODMAPs can also decrease water absorption in your large intestine which can makes things in the colon less slippery — hardening and restricting movement out. It’s always better when things come out 🙂 Lack of water absorption can also lead to dehydration.
A low FODMAP diet is said to really help those who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I know that IBS is common with women with endometriosis and have heard women with endo recount how many of their symptoms were written off by doctors as just being IBS.
Endometriosis pain and digestive distress often go hand in hand. I can definitely account for this.
Foods high in FODMAPs
The top foods high in FODMAPs include:
- grains with gluten (wheat, barley and rye)
- apples and pears
- dairy items including milk and soft cheeses
- agave and honey
- high fructose corn syrup
I tend to have issues with most foods listed above with some exceptions. I seem to be fine with apple juice, though the full apple always bothers me (unless cooked). Pears always make me toot, Lol 🙂 Raw onions tend to cause me more issues than cooked onions.
Both gluten and dairy are huge digestive triggers for me — Gas, Bloat, Cramping, Yuck.
I think it’s all about trial and error and paying attention to the reactions your body has when eating these foods that contain high FODMAPs to see if these should be eliminated or greatly reduced from your diet.
For a deeper look I found this list of foods suitable on a low FODMAP diet and those that should be avoided.
Further perusing on the Internet taught me that there are some discrepancies between what foods are safe or not safe to eat if you want to avoid the negative effects of FODMAPs, so take it with a grain of salt and use it as a guide to help figure out what deters your own digestive system.
On the Positive Side?
I was happy to see endometriosis mentioned in my coursework and its connection with food. I know that by focusing on improving my digestion that endometriosis pain and inflammation has been greatly reduced.
When your gut is inflamed, endo is inflamed. This connection for me has been clear.
I know that my gut has been compromised from years of me shoving in pills and foods that I was essentially allergic to.
I had never heard of the acronym FODMAPs before, but am going to start paying more attention to see if certain foods high in them do bother me. It does help to explain why certain foods have been problematic for me. Perhaps the same for you too?
Have you tried a low FODMAP diet? Was it helpful for you?
I would love to hear about your experiences.
Thank you for writing this! I have just started wondering about the connection myself. I have had endo for years and about a year ago I completely cut gluten, dairy, and eggs out of my diet. This helped a lot, but I’ve still had a semi-constant feeling that my gut was unbalanced and unhappy. About a week ago, I read something about FODMAPs and experimentally stopped eating onion and garlic, which seems to have helped even more. I think I’m going to do some more experimenting, but I’m glad to see I’m not the only one wondering. 🙂
That’s awesome that you’ve adjusted your diet and it helped 🙂 Good luck with your further experimentation.
This is a great article thank you. I’ve forever suffered with IBS and eventually after many years of suffering was diagnosed with endo. Before diagnosis I took it upon myself to cut out gluten as bread had always bloated me.. And it really helped me. I now find if I overdose on gluten it sets my endo off and makes me feel terrible. Plus it gives me joint and muscle pain too.
Thanks Kathryn. Gluten does me no good either. I get the same kind of reaction and definite joint pain.
Thank you so much for your article. I have had a miserable time these last few months. I will try out your suggestions as I do have IBS & Endo! Fed up of the pain and everything that goes with it! Feeling hopefull now! 🌻
Sorry to hear that Claire. It can be a struggle trying to figure out what works for you or not. I hope this gives you a better guide. Sometimes what’s considered “healthy” can be causing more issues. It’s all about figuring out what works for you individual biochemistry. Sending LOVE.