If you thought your endometriosis symptoms couldn’t get worse, add a little sugar into the mix – this stuff is one of the biggest culprits for increasing inflammation. Here’s how it works.
First, let’s unpack what endometriosis actually entails. Endometriosis is a hormone-related, inflammatory disease affecting 1 in 9 Australian women and girls of menstrual age, with research finding around 10–15% around the globe may be living with the disease. Endometriosis significantly reduces a person’s quality of life, and unfortunately, it can take between 4 and 11 years to receive a diagnosis, with up to 6 in 10 cases left undiagnosed. This means many are left to suffer with debilitating symptoms and little support or treatment. The disease involves the growth of cells similar to those found in the uterus’ lining start to grow in other areas of the pelvis, and this can include the bowel, bladder and ovaries. But these cells can spread to every organ in the body. The most common symptoms associated with the disease include abdominal pain, pelvic pain, back and leg pain, painful urination and bowel movements, heavy bleeding, infertility and bloating. For many, the pain is so severe that over-the-counter medication has little to no effect.
Though the cause of the condition hasn’t been pinned down yet, there are a number of contributing factors associated with endometriosis. Those who have a family history of the disorder are particularly at risk, with research clocking that increased risk in at around 10 times higher than the rest of the population.
Sugar and endometriosis
So, what has sugar got to do with it? Well, while sugar hasn’t been directly proven to cause the disease to develop – rather environmental, genetic and some lifestyle factors like alcoholism have been linked – we do know that excess consumption of the sweet stuff can exacerbate symptoms. Research shows that it can worsen processes that are involved in the disease, including inflammation and hormonal imbalances. Another study found that excess sugar intake could raise the risk for endometrial cancer as a result of the effect on insulin. Research shows that high insulin levels are a known risk factor for endometrial cancer, and what spikes insulin levels? High-sugar foods, of course.
The increased inflammation that comes with a high-sugar diet can also contribute to the progression of endometriosis, as research shows that this increased inflammation can trigger further growth in endometrial cells. This same diet can lead to hormonal imbalances, as we mentioned before, it can lead to high insulin levels and eventually insulin resistance, which can then lead to increased oestrogen levels. These increased oestrogen levels can then promote the growth of endometrial cells where they aren’t supposed to be!
So, what’s the answer? While reducing your added sugar intake to around 5% of your daily caloric intake – this is the World Health Organisation’s current recommendation – some people may find it hard to stick to just a little bit of something sweet. Cutting out sugar for 2 months can help you recalibrate your taste buds and fight off that clingy addiction to sugar.
Need a little help? That’s what we’re here for. We know it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
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So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to join. We’d love to help you get started on your health journey. Sign up HERE today!