Italian research links diet with endometriosis risk

een vegetables and fresh fruit. But, for those with a high intake of beef, other red meat and ham, there was an increase of about 80-100 percent in relative risk.

"With a prevalence of 5% in endometriosis in Italy, this means that if our findings are confirmed in prospective studies, we have the potential to cut the prevalence of endometriosis to around 3-4%, which would mean about 200,000 prevalent cases (and about 10,000 new cases a year) fewer in Italy and probably 800,000 fewer prevalent cases in Europe.

There was no significant link between endometriosis and consumption of milk, liver, carrots, cheese, fish, whole-grain foods, coffee or alcohol and no association with butter, margarine or oil.

Dr Parazzini said there were some limitations in the study: the diet section was restricted to a few selected indicator foods and there was no estimate of portion size (therefore no estimate of the total intake in calories). However, since the possible relationship between diet and endometriosis was probably not known to the interviewers or the majority of women interviewed this was unlikely to have biased the results.

The association between vegetables, fruit and meat was unlikely to be due to chance because the researchers analysed several dietary items. However, it was possible there was a 'healthy woman' effect as a high intake of green vegetables, fruit and fish may be generally indicators of more health-conscious attitudes. Also, women who paid closer attention to their health may be more likely to have endometriosis diagnosed.

"However, despite these limitations, our study does suggest that there is some link between diet and risk of endometriosis and indicates that we now need a proper prospective interventional investigation to study these factors. Endometriosis is a distressing condition that affects the quality of life for many women and if there are adjustments that can be made in the diet to lower the risk it is vita


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