Oranges and lemons

This month marks Endometriosis Awareness. The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness about this hidden and often unrecognised condition.

Aims of Endometriosis Awareness Month include promoting an understanding of endometriosis as a real, debilitating and disabling disease. It aims to seek best practice, consistent care and treatment for patients wherever they may live.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue, similar to the lining of the womb grows in other areas of the body. This tissue grows mainly in the abdominal cavity and bleeds, forming scar tissue, lesions and blood-filled cysts.

It affects around 10% of women

The symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Infertility
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Suppressed immune system

In fact, endometriosis a leading cause of infertility. Of the women who suffer from it, about 30% to 50% will have problems with infertility.

Prevention of endometriosis

So, the prevention of endometriosis is a big priority in terms of female health.

Could diet play a part? Research has suggested a number of nutrients that are present in fruits and vegetables that could influence endometriosis risk. This is because certain fruits are high in nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. These can help counter the free radicals that are thought to play a part in endometriosis.

New research from Harvard University in the US suggests that the answer is YES.

The researchers studied data collected from 70,835 premenopausal women from 1991-2013, highlighting 2,609 women with confirmed endometriosis. They found that:

  • Women consuming 1 serving or more of citrus fruits each day had a 22% lower endometriosis risk compared to those consuming less than 1 serving per week
  • The effect could possibly be explained by the presence of a key nutrient in the fruit called beta-cryptoxanthine, which has been shown to raise the blood concentration of beneficial antioxidants.

The researchers say, “Our findings suggest that a higher intake of fruits, particularly citrus fruits, is associated with a lower risk of endometriosis, and beta-cryptoxanthin in these foods may partially explain this association.”

However, the beneficial effects of fruit were not replicated by certain vegetables, which do not contain beta-cryptoxanthin, such as cabbage and broccoli.

But what is a daily serving of fruit?

A good rule of thumb is that an adult eating 2,000 calories a day should aim for the equivalent of 2 cups of fruit. An alternative is to fill half a medium plate with whole fruits. Obviously, you don’t have to eat it all at once and fruit also makes a perfect snack food.

Eating fruit is potentially one way to help prevent endometriosis that isn’t too much of a chore!

Please click here for further information on endometriosis.

Endometriosis UK: Endometriosis devastates the lives of women and their families. Endometriosis UK helps them take back control by providing vital support services, reliable information and a community for those affected by endometriosis.