When the inner uterine lining (endometrium) grows into the muscular wall (myometrium), it is called adenomyosis. Read below to know the importance of diet in treating this condition.
Adenomyosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus called the endometrium grows into the muscular wall called the myometrium. The muscular wall gets thickened when this happens, but the endometrial tissues continue to concentrate and bleed during each menstrual cycle. The severity of the symptoms changes in each of the affected people. They can make menstrual cramps and bleeding more severe than usual. Women also can have problems getting pregnant and sustaining the pregnancy with this condition.
The most important suspected cause for adenomyosis is excess estrogen in the body. Extra estrogen leads to the thickening of the uterine walls. It does not happen in a day but over a while. Adenomyosis can cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, severe cramp or chronic pelvic pain, pain in the back and legs, pelvic pressure, abdominal swelling, painful intercourse, and pain while having a bowel movement. A uterine surgery (C-section) might promote the direct invasion of the endometrial cells into the muscular wall of the uterus. Other reasons can be developmental issues or uterine inflammation during childbirth.
The signs and symptoms are similar to many other uterine conditions making the diagnosis difficult. Diagnosis can be made based on pelvic examination, ultrasound imaging of the uterus, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Adenomyosis remains the same without treatment, or it can get worse. If there are no symptoms or manageable symptoms, treatment is not necessary. However, there are many treatment options. It includes anti-inflammatory drugs that can reduce menstrual blood flow and help relieve pain and hormonal drugs that might lessen heavy bleeding. If there is severe pain, the doctor might suggest hysterectomy surgery to remove the uterus.
Endometrial Ablation - It is a surgery to destroy the lining of the uterus. This reduces the menstrual flow, and in some women, this can completely stop the menses.
Uterine Artery Embolization - It is a procedure by which the blood supply to the uterus is blocked due to the intake of birth control pills.
Other Treatment Options - An intrauterine device, especially the one that releases the hormone progestin.
Adenomyosis patients must follow a nutritious diet. Water intake must be adequate. You can include vegetable broth, soups, or infused water to increase water intake. People should avoid skipping meals. Fresh foods always contain the highest amount of nutrients. They not only have antioxidant properties but also anti-inflammatory properties. You should avoid using canned foods. Physical activity, meditation, and yoga are recommended. Include food with a low glycemic index in the diet. They are broken down at a slower rate and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time. But it is also not healthy to include only food with a low glycemic index. The diet should be balanced.
The following are some of the recommendations -
Cereals - Brown rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, multigrain, puffed rice, rice flakes. They help to lose weight and manage menstrual cramps.
Fruits - Apple, papaya, pears, pineapple, coconut, and cantaloupe. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants that help in reducing inflammation of the uterus.
Vegetables - Fiber-rich green leafy vegetables, cabbage, spinach, cucumber, carrot, celery, asparagus, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, ridge gourd, and bitter gourd. They help to lose weight and maintain estrogen levels.
Pulses - Whole pulses, lentils, and legumes. A moderate amount of protein helps to maintain hormonal balance in the body.
Dairy Products - The protein in the milk helps to maintain estrogen levels. However, it is advised to consume low-fat milk as high-fat milk can fluctuate the symptoms.
Spices - Mint, turmeric, cumin, fennel, coriander, salt (in curbs). They have an anti-inflammatory property.
Flesh Foods - Egg white, chicken, and fish.
Dry Fruits - Walnuts, almonds (soaked), pumpkin seeds, and hazelnuts.
Oil - Olive oil, cow ghee, canola oil, fish oil. You should include omega-three-rich fats in the diet to reduce any inflammation that might trigger adenomyosis.
Drinks - Aloe vera juice, wheatgrass juice, green juice, coconut water, herbal tea, green tea.
Other Foods - Homemade vegetable and fruit juices, honey, jaggery, and soybean.
Junk foods lead to estrogen imbalance. Spicy and fried food will aggravate pelvic congestion and inflammation, leading to dysmenorrhea. Hence trans fats, red meat, and processed food are to be avoided. Avoid foods high in salt and sugar and preservatives or sodium salts. Heavy creamy desserts and sweets should also be avoided. Genetically modified foods can affect the hormonal balance and hence should be avoided. Wash fresh fruits and vegetables to remove all the pesticides that lead to hormonal imbalance. The following foods are to be avoided.
Cereals - White refined flour, white rice, and refined grains. Avoid refined cereals with refined flours as they can worsen adenomyosis.
Fruits - Mango, banana, citrus fruits, watermelon, plums, and carambola.
Vegetables- Bitter gourd, cauliflower, onion, garlic.
Pulses - Dried and frozen pulses.
Dairy Products - Milk and its products, full-fat yogurt, condensed milk, whole milk, and cream.
Spices - Hemp pepper and red chilies.
Drinks - Tea, coffee, alcohol, canned juices, carbonated drinks. Consuming alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes affects vascular contraction resulting in abnormal menstrual periods.
Flesh Foods - Red meat, processed meat, frozen meat.
Dry Fruits - Peanuts, cashew nuts, pistachio.
Oils - Butter, hydrogenated oil, palm oil.
Other foods to Be Avoided - All bakery products, junk food, oily food, vinegar, pickles, margarine cake, chocolate, pastries, cheese, deep-fried food, and frozen food.
Adenomyosis is not entirely curable without surgery. But, the symptoms are reversed after menopause as the estrogen levels naturally decrease. It can also be managed by lifestyle modification, alternative therapies, and a balanced diet. A diet with balanced fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with adequate micronutrients, is the key to a healthy uterus.
Last reviewed at:
12 Jan 2023 - 4 min read
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