Despite the fact that Beverly Hills 90210 character Kelly got endometriosis as a convenient plot point, then never seemed to be bothered by it again, the condition is both chronic and painful. Researchers in Milan, Italy, examined the diets of women with endometriosis for factors that contribute to the disorder.
What the researchers wanted to know: How does diet affect pelvic endometriosis?
What they did: About 500 women admitted to hospitals in northern Italy with endometriosis were compared with controls: women who were admitted with conditions that weren't gynecological and had nothing to do with hormones or abnormal growths; most were in for orthopedic problems. Each woman answered questions about how often she ate different foods.
What they found: Red meat doubled the risk of endometriosis, while ham increased risk a little less. Eating a lot of green vegetables or fruit decreased the risk.
What the study means to you: Maybe Mom was right after all and you should eat your veggies.
Caveats: Women were only asked about certain foods; they didn't report on their entire diet, and they weren't asked about portion size. Also, being Italian, the women were probably more likely than the average American to have been eating a healthy Mediterranean diet, so the results may not be applicable to women who eat differently.
Find out more: At the Endometriosis Association site, you can read the question "What is endometriosis?" (and answers) in an impressive number of languagesthen enter the site to find out in English.
Italian recipes from the International Vegetarian Union
Read the article: Parazzini, F., Chiaffarino, F., Surace, M., Chatnoid, L., Cipriani, S., Chiantera, V., Benzi, G., and L. Fedele. "Selected Food Intake and Risk of Endometriosis." Human Reproduction. August 2004, Vol. 19, No. 8, pp. 17551759.
Abstract online: www.ingenta.com