Endometriosis, dysmenorrhea and diet--what is the evidence?

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2007 Jun;132(2):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2006.12.006. Epub 2007 Jan 8.


The objective of this study is to assess the literature concerning the effect of diet on endometriosis and dysmenorrhea and to elucidate evidential support, to give dietary recommendations to women suffering from these conditions. A systematic search in electronic databases on a relationship between diet and endometriosis/dysmenorrhea was performed. Data on diet and endometriosis were limited to four trials of which two were animal studies. The articles concerning human consumption found some relation between disease and low intake of vegetable and fruit and high intake of vegetarian polyunsaturated fat, ham, beef and other red meat. Results concerning fish intake were not consistent. Eight trials of different design, with a total of 1097 women, investigated the relationship between diet and dysmenorrhea. Intake of fish oil seemed to have a positive effect on pain symptoms. This study concludes that literature on diet and endometriosis is sparse, whereas eight studies have looked at diet and dysmenorrhea. No clear recommendations on what diet to eat or refrain from to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis can be given, while a few studies indicate that fish oil can reduce dysmenorrhea. Further research is recommended on both subjects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dysmenorrhea / diet therapy
  • Dysmenorrhea / etiology*
  • Endometriosis / diet therapy
  • Endometriosis / etiology*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / therapeutic use
  • Humans


  • Fish Oils