What is endometriosis – and what does my morning bagel have to do with it?

Good morning sunshine!  What are you having for breakfast this morning?

Are you loading up with powerful protein, healthy fat, and some veggies or green juice to start your engine this morning?

Or, perhaps it’s just easier to grab a bagel and coffee on your way to work.

You might be surprised to know that what you choose to eat for breakfast this morning can help to relieve your endometriosis pain, or it can make your pain worse!

Crazy, right!

In one recent study, women with endometriosis (who were NOT diagnosed with celiac disease – a severe allergy to gluten) were put on a gluten-free diet for 12 months.  SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT of the women in this study reported significant PAIN RELIEF simply by sticking to a gluten-free diet!

Now, I have seen in practice that sometimes it’s not that simple, and there’s a lot to learn just to correctly follow a gluten-free diet.  Gluten is a tricky little sucker – hiding even in your shampoo.  But, this is one of the key challenges that we help our clients navigate, easily and deliciously.

Would you be willing to learn how to let go of all of the gluten in your life, if letting go of the gluten meant letting go of some of your endometriosis pain?  Let’s chat in the comments.

Share with us in the comments below if you tried going gluten-free to relieve your endometriosis pain.  Did it help your pain?  Was it confusing to get the gluten out completely?  Did you experience major bread and pasta cravings?  Were you tested for celiac disease?

Share your stories with us in the comments below, and share this post with anyone in your life who suffers from the pain of endometriosis.  You just might help her get out of pain, and get her life back!

Looking for personalized endometriosis health coaching? Learn more about our Outsmart Endo Health Coaching Program. 


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10 thoughts on “What is endometriosis – and what does my morning bagel have to do with it?

  1. Kelly Schmucker says:

    I am so glad for this post! I have endometriosis and a gluten free diet has helped me so much! I do not think I have celiac disease. I was tested after being gluten free for about 8 months, so it may have been inconclusive. It was difficult to find all the sources of gluten, but even cutting obvious sources helped tremendously while I figured things out. I did have major bread and pasta cravings at first. After 2 years, I rarely get cravings anymore. I do bake using almond flour and coconut flours. I find that paleo baking is a lot easier than just gluten free baking, as long as you can handle lots of eggs.

    I also cut all caffeine a few months ago, and that seems to be helping a great deal too. It’s such a long process to health. But I’m glad to have resources like this to help along the way.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Kelly! You are so on the right track. It often does take more than one change before fully relieving your pain. Getting support along the way can be so helpful because letting go of gluten, caffeine, sugar, and many of the other foods that can make pelvic pain worse is tough to do!

      Celebrate how far you’ve come!

  2. I had read so much about the connection between gluten and pain. I admit I tried it for a month and I really don’t know it I noticed a big change. The “doctors” say I don’t have endometriosis any more. My pain is simply “muscle Tension.” But I will say that replacing the bagel or English muffin in the morning has been a ritual for quite a while now. I usually have a smoothie, veg and fruit and I change it up every morning. I do think starting my day like that has helped.
    Going completely gluten I found hard. I first eliminated wheat then went to gluten. Maybe I did not do it for long enough, maybe I should go at it again. It is hard to do when you have a family and you are making the meals. Dairy free has been a little easier.

    • Hi Jane, Thanks so much for sharing with us. It can be tough to eliminate gluten – there is a lot to learn because gluten can even be hiding in your shampoo or lotion. In most cases it takes at least 3-6 months to get the gluten fully out of your system. Getting support along the way is key because making these changes can truly be a challenge. Keeping hanging out with us here. Sharing the challenges with us will help us to support you! You’re moving in the right direction! (And, even if it is “muscle tension,” many of the same strategies can help. – stay tuned for more on that in future posts.)

  3. As a physiotherapist and a nutritionist working in chronic pelvic pain, these findings are fascinating to me. However, of concern is that there is no mention in the study abstract that coeliac disease (CD) was definitively ruled out in the study sample. This is a “must-do” before changing to a gluten-free diet (GFD). If the person improves dramatically on a GFD, they will be reluctant to do a gluten challenge in order to have CD definitively ruled out. Non-coeliac gluten intolerance and CD are two different things, and untreated CD requires “watertight” adherence to a GFD, without which health risks for osteoporosis and colorectal cancer are dramatically increased. Secondly, while these results could have been due to a non-coeliac gluten intolerance (or undiagnosed CD for that matter), it is also possible they are due to FODMAPS malabsorption. Wheat is a key fructan (a type of FODMAP) and a GFD is by definitition much lower in FODMAPS. This could be enough to significantly change abdominal and/or pelvic pain in a malabsorbing person with IBS (which as we all know overlaps heavily with endometriosis). We can’t differentiate these things from this study – and the study findings are important – but we need to tease these things apart so we can identify exactly what we’re dealing with.

    • Hi Alyssa,

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I completely agree about ruling out celiac first, and we always do that in my programs. And, the issue of FODMAPS is also very important, as are other possible overlapping food sensitivities. And, yes you are completely right. In the research IBS overlaps with gynecologic pelvic pain at least 20% of the time (clinically, I think it’s even more common to have overlap.)

      Bottom line, we definitely need more research in this area. And, women need to be supported to tune into the needs of their own bodies, and to learn to trust those messages. Often our bodies already know what we need if we are connected enough to listen and understand. Each woman’s optimal nutrition program for healing is unique.

      Thanks so much for being here! We can surely learn a lot from your wisdom and experience!


  4. My story is a little different. I did have endometriosis nearly 20 years ago and I can tell you that my pain went away when I went gluten free (about that long ago.) However, I am now entering perimenopause and having horrible hot flashes and incredibly painful breast tenderness. I swear these symptoms started AFTER I began bioidentical hormones – which I will never take again. (I took them for a few months). When I told my Naturopath that I had endometriosis she mentioned to me that I’ve probably “never been able to metabolize my own hormones” and that we would not use bioidenticals. My question is this: have you ever heard the connection between endometriosis and an inability to metabolize hormones? This was news to me, and I’ wish I’d known years ago that even in my 20’s I had a problem with hormone balance. Do you work with women in my situation to help them balance hormones naturally?

    • Absolutely! In the program there is an entire module on hormonal detoxification (metabolism.) It is very common to have difficulty metabolizing estrogen because it can be due to a genetic variation that occurs in approximately 60% of Americans. The group program would be perfect for you to get your hormones in alignment naturally. There are 2 major modules on both hormone metabolism and the balance between stress, sex, and thyroid hormones. You can learn more here: http://iwhi.wpengine.com/group-coaching/ And, if you sign up by today, you will get a big discount. Watch your email for the promo code. Thanks for the question!

  5. I have been following GF diet (not strict, more wheat free) for about 4 months now. I am undiagnosed with anything CD or gluten intolerance, etc. I have noticed many improvements in sleep, hormonal issues (hot flashes, night sweats, breast pain)digestive issues, etc. However, I am now spotting between periods which I have absolutely never done. I ignored it the first time thinking it was an anomaly but I’m going on round 2 of my cycle and spotting again. I also have cramping (which I never had before). I realize this is the opposite of what one would expect (cycle improvements/regularity with GF diet) but that is the only thing that changed for me. I am still very regular but am spotting and having cramping. Any thoughts/insights?

    • It could just be your cycle returning to normal. It’s possible that you’re now having some mild symptoms with ovulation. Overall it sounds like things are moving in the right direction. But, if the mid-cycle spotting is at all concerning, do follow-up with your local doctor.


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