Diet and endometriosis risk: a literature review

Reprod Biomed Online. 2013 Apr;26(4):323-36. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.12.011. Epub 2013 Jan 21.


A connection between dietary factors and endometriosis onset has become a topic of interest mostly due to the observation that physiological and pathological processes of the disease can be influenced by diet. This paper systematically reviews prior publications dealing with this aspect in order to identify potentially modifiable risk factors. Comprehensive searches in the electronic databases MEDLINE, EMBASE and Science Citation Index Expanded were conducted to identify published studies evaluating the association between food intake (nutrients and food groups) and endometriosis. Eleven studies were identified: 10 case-control and one cohort study. Information on diet was collected using food frequency questionnaires in seven studies, while in one study the questionnaire focused on caffeine and alcohol intake. Women with endometriosis seem to consume fewer vegetables and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and more red meat, coffee and trans fats but these findings could not be consistently replicated. Most data have also been discussed herein in light of the available experimental and animal model results. At present, evidence supporting a significant association between diet and endometriosis is equivocal. Further studies are needed to clarify the role of diet on endometriosis risk and progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coffee
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dairy Products
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Fats*
  • Disease Progression
  • Endometriosis / etiology*
  • Endometriosis / pathology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Phytoestrogens / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Soy Foods
  • Vegetables*


  • Coffee
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Phytoestrogens