Research question: What is the current diet of women with endometriosis, in terms of adherence to dietary guidelines and use of diets, and what are the perceived effects of dietary modifications?
Design: In this online explorative observational study, the Dutch Healthy Diet 2015 index (DHD-15) and quality of life (QoL) with the Endometriosis Health Profile-30 questionnaire (EHP-30) were used to assess diet quality.
Results: The questionnaires were completed by 157 participants. Many participants made one or more dietary adaptations for their endometriosis, in the form of a specific diet (46.5%), with the use of dietary supplements (56.1%), with other dietary adjustments (64.3%), or all. Endometriosis patients had a significantly lower DHD-15 score, indicating a lower diet quality than a healthy reference group (P = 0.004). In the endometriosis group, diet users had a significantly higher total DHD-15 score than non-diet users (P < 0.0001). Diet quality was not correlated with QoL (Pearson's r = -0.010, P = 0.904). Many specific dietary adjustments (71.3%), however, were reported to reduce endometriosis pain-related symptoms. The removal of gluten, dairy or soy, as well as the addition of vegetables, showed the greatest perceived reductions of symptoms in participants.
Conclusions: Although no specific dietary adjustment was found to increase QoL, endometriosis patients do feel that dietary adjustments have a beneficial effect on their symptoms. Therefore, more research is needed to gain evidence about the specific effects of nutrients on endometriosis symptoms.
Keywords: Dietary behaviour, endometriosis; Nutrition; Pain, quality of life, self-management.
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.