If you watch TV, you probably know what endometriosis is. You’ve seen the commercial- a meek young woman in a hospital gown sits on a treatment table while a outspoken carbon-copy of her spurs the other version of herself to speak up to her gynecologist.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it, which can cause debilitating pain and fertility issues. There is currently no clear cause or cure for the disease.

In a prospective study out of Australia looked at 81,908 women over 22 years. Women completed a food frequency questionnaire every 4 years. During that time, 3800 cases of incident laparoscopically confirmed endometriosis were reported. Women consuming >2 servings per day of red meat had a 56% higher risk of endometriosis.

The data showed that women eating two servings of red meat per day had a 56 percent higher risk of developing the disease, compared to those who consumed one or less.

Interestingly, the link between red meat consumption and endometriosis was strongest for non-processed red meats. Although processed meats increased the risk as well. Intakes of poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs were unrelated to endometriosis risk.

A US study in found that two pesticides stored in animal fat elevated women’s risk of endometriosis by up to 70 per cent. Researchers suggested that the pesticides’ oestrogen-like qualities were responsible for the significant association.

A 2013 study out of the US found that 2 pesticides stored in animal fat elevated women’s risk of endometriosis by up to 70%. Researchers surmised that the oestrogen-like qualities of pesticides were responsible for the significant association.

Although the quality of the research is low, the results are significant. We need controlled research trials to confirm, but in the meantime, this is just more evidence that the Mediterranean diet is what I’ll stick to and recommend to my patients.

1. Yamamoto, Ayae et al. A prospective cohort study of meat and fish consumption and endometriosis risk. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology , Volume 0 , Issue 0.