IBS and Endometriosis

IBS and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic, inflammatory condition that can cause pain and infertility. A backward flow of menstrual blood and tissue back into the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis can implant on various organs and tissues of the pelvis and abdomen, where it becomes legions that respond to hormones. This activates an inflammatory response, and initiates scarring that cause significant pain, and in some cases, difficulty to fall pregnant.
Symptoms of endometriosis and IBS can overlap, and one study have found that 79% of women that have IBS may also have endometriosis.

IBS Symptoms that overlap are:

  • Visceral hypersensitivity
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhea or both
  • Nausea
  • Painful defecation
  • Poor quality of life

It is not to say that you do have endometriosis when you are diagnosed with IBS. Get a proper diagnosis from your gynecologist, especially if you have a family history of endometriosis. A proper diagnosis can ensure that a more serious underlying condition is ruled out.

Women with endometriosis can Benefit from a Low Fodmap Diet

Fodmaps are fermentable carbohydrates that draw water into the intestines and are then rapidly fermented in the colon. This can lead to bloating and increase the feeling of discomfort and pain due to hypersensitivity when the intestines stretch.
It is important to find out which Fodmaps you are sensitive to, as following a very restrictive diet longterm, can lead to important nutrient and fiber deficiencies, which can worsen inflammation and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Eatfit dietitians are trained in the low Fodmap diet and can help you each step of the way to discover your triggers and ultimately reduce pain and GI symptoms.

I am a fodmap trained, Eatfit accredited dietitian that can help you discover which foods aggravate your symptoms and ultimately improve help to improve the quality of your life. To read more about the Eatfit program for Digestive health or to find an Eatfit accredited dietitan, visit www.eatfitsa.com or alternatively, book your appointment with me.


1. Meurs-Szojda MM, Mijatovic V, Felt-Bersma RJ, Hompes PG. Irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation in patients with endometriosis. Colorectal disease: the official journal of the Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland. 2011;13(1):67-71.
2. Issa B, Onon TS, Agrawal A, Shekhar C, Morris J, Hamdy S, et al. Visceral hypersensitivity in endometriosis: a new target for treatment? Gut. 2012;61(3):367-72.
3. KM, Roth B, Ekstrom P, Valentin L, Bengtsson M, Ohlsson B. Gastrointestinal symptoms among endometriosis patients--A case-cohort study. BMC women's health. 2015;15:59

Claudine Ryan, Registered Dietitian, RD (SA)

Written by : Claudine Ryan, Registered Dietitian, RD (SA)

Claudine Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. Claudine is passionate about people and their health, and enjoys helping others to optimise their health and manage their chronic lifestyle related diseases through sound nutritional therapy and practical advice.