Effectiveness of Dietary Interventions in the Treatment of Endometriosis: a Systematic Review

Reprod Sci. 2022 Jan;29(1):26-42. doi: 10.1007/s43032-020-00418-w. Epub 2021 Mar 24.


A patients' increasing interest in dietary modifications as a possible complementary or alternative treatment of endometriosis is observed. Unfortunately, the therapeutic potential of dietary interventions is unclear and to date no guidelines to assist physicians on this topic exist. The aim of this study, therefore, was to systematically review the existing studies on the effect of dietary interventions on endometriosis. An electronic-based search was performed in MEDLINE and COCHRANE. We included human and animal studies that evaluated a dietary intervention on endometriosis-associated symptoms or other health outcomes. Studies were identified and coded using standard criteria, and the risk of bias was assessed with established tools relevant to the study design. We identified nine human and 12 animal studies. Out of the nine human studies, two were randomized controlled trials, two controlled studies, four uncontrolled before-after studies, and one qualitative study. All of them assessed a different dietary intervention, which could be classified in one of the following principle models: supplementation with selected dietary components, exclusion of selected dietary components, and complete diet modification. Most of the studies reported a positive effect on endometriosis; they were however characterized by moderate or high-risk bias possibly due to the challenges of conducting dietary intervention trials. According to the available level of evidence, we suggest an evidence-based clinical approach for physicians to use during consultations with their patients. Further well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed to accurately determine the short-term and long-term effectiveness and safety of different dietary interventions.

Keywords: Alternative treatment; Complementary treatment; Diet; Dietary intervention; Nutrition.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet*
  • Endometriosis / diet therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic