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Endometriosis UK
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Endo and weight, gain weight? 'loose weight?

My weight has always been rather stable and my BMI was, for a number of years, relatively low (19.5 my gyno said). I wasn't focused on my weight and normally eat what I want.

Hormonal treatments made me gain a bit of weight (which I didn't mind) and then my accupuncturist said it may improve my fertility to gain weight. I therefore tried to gain more weight by eating more fatty foods like nuts and so on and I think my BMI might be around 21 or something at the moment.

I am however thinking that the weight gain may be aggravating my endo, I have noticed it in the past that when my weight goes up a bit my endo gets a tad bit worse. It might be because my belly gets really bloated and that presses on adhesions, but I'm not sure.

Anyways! I'm just wondering what you have been told and whether I should start exercising more again and not try to actively gain weight or just continue to force feed when not hungry.

Thanks x

7 Replies

No advice, but thank you for asking the question.

I am very similar to you, used to have a bmi of 18, never been on a diet in my life and now gradually putting on weight (I assumed because I am getting older), which I have been quite pleased about as clothes are starting to fit better. It hadn't occurred to me that my increased pain might be because of my increased weight but the two things have certainly coincided.


Is it possible that the increased pain is associated with less exercise rather than the weight gain itself? I know my pains get far worse if I take a break from exercise. If you want to gain weight, I think it's probably a good idea to keep exercising and increase your calories. You might need to eat slightly larger meals than is comfortable for a few weeks (remember, protein makes you feel fuller, so try reducing these a little during this time, and be sure to sit still for a while after eating) to stretch the stomach, then you are likely to find your appetite increasing, making weight gain easier and food yummier.


Hi - i am in no way an expert on this subject so this is just my current understanding from books and research I have done over the recent past. It is also a wide-circle answer to your question about increasing your BMI. I have heard before about the link between fertility and low weight but this has been in relation to someone with anorexia where their periods have ceased so, if you have normal function, I guess your gynae would have checked this all out before giving you that advice.

As i understand it, forward thinking circles believe that conditions such as endo, fybroyalgia, MS, female cancers, PMS, fibroids, unexplained depression, peri-menopausal symptoms amongst other things are likely to be contributed to by estrogen dominnce. Obviously there are other factors.

This does not necessarily mean that a person who is estrogen dominant has overall high estrogen levels (in fact a test at your gp might come back in the normal range) but it is the ratio between estrogen and progesterone that is the factor. If it is high in relation to a lower level of progesterone then you can be said to be estrogen dominant.

General medical thinking tends to blame the ovaries and recommends removing them to cease estrogen production. However, the ovaries have important functions hormone wise and not just relating to estrogen so, unless there is anything nasty indicated such as cancer, my endo consultant was pro-retaining the ovaries.

The increase in all of these female conditions is thought to be more likely to be as a result of the amount of chemicals we are now bombarded with in this modern world. Plastics in packaging, particularly food that is heated and hot drinks where Pthlates can leak into the hot food. Not so much cold food I think.

Many toiletries and cosmetics which we smother ourselves in everyday contain parabens, sls (sulphates) and pthlates. Apparently the body absorbes these through the skin and these chemicals can mimic estrogen and thus increasing this hormone in your system with or without ovaries.

The liver works hard to eliminate excess estrogen, but where it is under pressure due to also having to deal with alcohol, caffeine and other such things, it can sometimes store the excess estrogen in body fat instead of being able to eliminate it. This is why the endo diet recommends a reduction in alcohol, caffeine, glutens if sensitive to them etc because it helps the liver to then have greater capacity at eradicating toxins, including estrogen.

Where the liver is not able to eradicate excess estrogen (particularly when overloaded with alcohol, caffeine etc) the body will store excess estrogen in body fat. Therefore, the greater your BMI, the greater ability the body has to store excess estrogen is what I understand.

One way to help your body is the endo diet which eliminates many of the things your liver struggles to detox from.

Having undergone radical excision surgery over 2 years ago now to remove the whole lining of my peritoneum to remove stage 4 endo, and from POD etc I am now following, as best as I can without being obsessive, steps to reduce my exposure to xenoestrogens and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, caffeine etc to give my body the best change of eliminating excess estrogen.

I have also switched to using bath products, shampoo / conditioner body creams and make up etc that do not contain parabens, sls or pthlates. I also take any readymeals out of the plastic packaging and heat in a glass dish and I don't drink hot drinks from plastic cups. Trying to watch the weight too, but I know that is not easy but just cutting out sugar and stuff can help there.

I also use endo-ex which is a herbal tincture specifically for endo and female health to help the liver. I cannot vouch for it however as I have no ability to know if it is effective other than having read about it.

I have only been on this mission for a short time and I think it takes time for the body to get rid of xenestrogens but it makes sense to me and so I will try anything to lessen my chances of endo returning or of getting anything else nasty too.

Stress is also a factor, and who is not stressed who has endo or any other female conditions! I don't understand the ins and outs but, apparently when the adrenals are under pressure progesterone is decreased - again possibly leading to estrogen dominance. Stress is also widely now acknolwdged to contribute to fat retention, particularly belly fat so it also has a bearing on estrogen storage with that increase. Cutting out/down on sugar lessens the peaks of insulin which in turn helps the adrenals to function relating to stress.

In case anyone is interested, the books I have read were "Estrogen Dominance" by Dr michael Lam who has a very informative website and also writes about adrenal burnout; and "The /Miracle of Bio-Identical Hormones" by Dr Michael E Platt. This provided a whole new insight to me about the approach to wellness and what can contribute to conditions and how the current medical establishment tends to look for symptoms and treats those rather than looking at the whole picture and treating the root cause rather than just the symptom.

Apologies for the long ramble but you can tell I am convinced at this point that this is an important factor to our endo and many other things.


Hi girls and thanks for answering my questions and offering your views.

ebby-1970 I actually started exercising again, went for short walks yesterday and the day before and I´m keeping up with my Yoga. I also started taking pycnogenol again last week, just going to take it till I get my pain levels under control, it might be decreasing my pain.

stevieflp I've read about estrogen dominance and it's interesting. I'm thinking about trying to do the cleanse/detox that's in the book by Henriette Norton, I think the book is called take control of your endometriosis. I'm also trying to manage my stress and meditate but my job is very stressful.



Hi again Bledie. Well done for getting back to exercise. It's good to feel that you have some control over your body, isn't it? Especially with a condition like this.

Thanks for mentioning pycnogenol. It's not on the list of supplements I currently take. It looks like it might be worth a try.




Hi ebby-1970

I've heard it works and I feel it is working, there is this one study supporting this, but someone on another forum told me not to take it for many months because of it's effects on testerone or something? which is not good when ttc. But if you're not ttc then it's probably fine. Would encourage you to read as much about it as you can xx


P.s green tea has also worked for me in the past, there is also a study that showed it slowed down endo growth, think it was in mice though. For me it the effects were no clotting in periods (sorry for if it's tmi) less pain in between periods and increased energy but stopped taking it because again read somewhere it's not good when ttc xxx


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