One of the top frustrations of having endometriosis (next to the pain and fertility struggles) is the bloating, sometimes called the endo belly. The endometriosis belly, the endometriosis tummy, the endo bloat, the endo belly, the endo pooch – whatever you call it, you know what I’m talking about.
That moment where your belly suddenly decides to make you look six months pregnant, not only is it uncomfortable, sometimes painful, it can also affect us emotionally – whether it’s about our self-esteem or because it plays on our fears around fertility.
But what is endometriosis bloating? What causes it, and can we find endometriosis bloating relief?
If you follow my blog series, you’ve probably noticed that I already wrote an article about how to manage endo bloat! I’m diving into all the above and more, and really exploring the role that gut health has in endometriosis. Read the full article here.
It can be especially difficult to deal with endo bloat if you don’t understand why it’s happening, and if your doctors have zero solutions for you (beyond more birth control or surgeries).
Endo belly and digestive issues with endometriosis are so common, one study showed that 96% of women with endo (vs 64% without) experienced high levels of bloating and gut-related symptoms.
To add insult to injury, more research has shown that women receiving hormonal treatment (like the birth control pill) had higher bloating severity ratings and discomfort scores than women with endo who didn’t use hormonal treatments. WOW.
Now to the good news! There are foods you can use to help prevent endo belly and reduce it once it’s already shown up. I know that you are doing everything you can to prevent the “endo belly”, but maybe you’re reading this now because you’re super bloated, in which case- the foods I’m suggesting below will help as well.
10 Foods To Help Reduce Endo Belly & Endometriosis Pain
One of my absolute favorite “superfoods” for any hormonal condition is sauerkraut. And I mean, the live, fermented, find-it-in-the-fridge-section, no vinegar or sugar kind of sauerkraut.
In case you’re not familiar, sauerkraut is basically fermented cabbage. If you buy it fresh, from the fridge, you’re getting loads of enzymes and live probiotics to feed your gut. The yucky stuff on the dry shelf in the store is NOT what you want. Ingredients should be cabbage, salt, maybe some bacterial starter and other flavours (IE ginger, caraway seed). No vinegar or sugar should be included for a truly fermented sauerkraut.
Here is why I LOVE sauerkraut for endometriosis:
- It contains LIVE probiotics, which will help you get more “good” gut bugs into your body to push out the bad.
- It has an affinity for detoxing excess estrogen.
- It’s anti-inflammatory.
#2. Almonds & their butter
Almonds are high in good fats and are jam-packed with protein and fibre, so they keep you full and satisfied and can prevent you from overeating. Almonds help us reduce levels of inflammation. They contain essential fats omega 3 which help our bodies produce natural anti-inflammatory chemicals called prostaglandins.
Endometriosis growths in our bodies cause high levels of inflammation and pain, so it’s useful to reduce this with omega 3. This makes them a great snack to help you lose weight. They’re also a great source of magnesium which helps to keep you energized and build and maintain your muscle tissue. Almonds are also very high in vitamin E, which has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps in studies.
#3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another endo belly helper is apple cider vinegar. Maybe it’s not your favorite thing, I know. But actually it has so many health benefits. And it’s one of the best endometriosis bloating relieves.
Apple cider vinegar is fermented food. That means it’s packed full of “good” bacteria or probiotics, essential for bringing balance back to a stressed-out endo digestive system.
Raw apple cider vinegar also contains enzymes and acids to help digestion. Specifically, using raw apple cider vinegar helps to increase levels of stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid.
#4. Celery & Fennel
These crunchy veggies act as diuretics, helping you to flush out the excess water you’re retaining. (Buh-bye, bloating.) Toss celery in your salad for extra crunch or snack on some with spicy salsa. Roast fennel as a change from broccoli or makes it the star of your next crudite. You can add celery to your morning fresh juice. My favorite one is with 2 green apples, a bit of fresh ginger, celery, lemon juice and half cucumber.
I love melons! They are perfect for а snack and they are sooo yummy and fresh. But melons can also help you flush the excess H2O. Since they contain about 90 percent water, they act as a diuretic to help you naturally flush out any excess water and salt your belly may be holding on to. Plus, just one cup of the diced fruit contains 388 milligrams of sodium-fighting potassium, which will further help you maintain your fluid balance as well as reduce high blood pressure.
Try cubing the melon and tossing it into a summer salad or cut it into chunks and top over a probiotic-packed parfait. The fiber in the melon will feed the good bacteria in the yogurt, helping to regulate your microbiome and further flatten your gut!
Because of the high percentage of potassium, which has the opposite effect of sodium on your body, avocados help to reduce bloating by not holding onto excess water. Bananas have potassium as well, but avocados contain higher amounts.
This bitter herb/backyard pest is something of a “bloat and gas-fighting all-star.”
Dandelion also prevents gas by increasing stomach acid production and boosting digestion. If you’re serving salad before one of your dinners, consider adding some of these greens.
I have some problems with dandelion cause its slightly bitter flavor. But it is a natural diuretic, thereby encouraging your body to pee out excess liquid to help alleviate stomach distension caused by water retention.
In the warmer months, you can harvest dandelion as you ride in the woods or forage for it year-round in the produce aisle of some supermarkets. Fresh dandelion can be added to salads, sandwiches, and pesto recipes. You can also take the chill out of winter by sipping dandelion tea from brands like Traditional Medicinals
#8. Water with lemon
It’s never a bad idea to drink more water. Well, drinking water helps to flush the kidneys and reduce water retention and bloating.
If you’re not a fan of the taste of plain water, it’s easy to make infused water by letting fruits and herbs soak in a pitcher for a few hours. I love my lemon&ginger detox water. It helps me a lot when I feel bloated.
If you are still eating fast food or sodium-rich foods you are probably feeling bloated more often. You can find a relief from digestive disorders with a banana.
Bananas also contain potassium which maintains electrolyte balance in the body which ultimately helps to reduce discomfort in the stomach. Above all, it is one of the best energy-packed fruit.
Berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are high in water content — in fact, they are 85 to 95 percent water — which can help decrease bloating. They are also high in fiber, which can help food move through the intestines more quickly and decrease abdominal pressure and bloating.
An easy way to get all these amazing foods? Make a smoothie bowl with bananas and berries for breakfast and add some almonds, water with lemon and avocado salad, before you eat it enjoy a small cup of warm water with apple cider vinegar, and have some sauerkraut on the side. You can add some melon to your afternoon snack. Done!
Every woman is different
Although none of these are cures, I have found them to be very effective most days. It is not every day they help me, though. Some days, endo bloat is so bad, I truly need to just lay down and relax. Only you can judge what will be helpful for your body.