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Why I Don’t Think Women with Endometriosis Should Eat Flaxseeds

If you read anything about flaxseeds on the internet, your local mag or hear about it on TV, they generally boast about the wonderful benefits of flaxseeds. Flaxseeds contain high amounts of omega 3 oils, which by that very element would be incredibly beneficial for many of us. A food or source containing high amounts of omega 3 will reduce inflammation and maintain good heart health.

The other key benefit of flaxseeds is that they contain roughage, which is never a bad thing when our digestion can often be in more of an up and down state!

So, why am I not recommending flaxseeds for Endometriosis? I mean, these sound like great benefits for us Endo women!

The third element found in flaxseeds is the one that concerns me. Flaxseeds contain high amounts of natural lignans or plant oestrogens. They are far higher than in most of our foods (many foods contain plant oestrogens). I have personally always believed that women with Endometriosis should avoid any plant or supplement that has high amounts of plant oestrogens.

Here are a few more insights on flaxseeds and how they relate specifically to Endometriosis:

  • Altering menstrual period: One study reported that our menstrual period may in fact be altered by taking flaxseed powder on a daily basis.
  • Hormone sensitive warnings: A number of websites indicate that flaxseeds should be taken with caution with any condition that is hormonally sensitive, and that ladies, includes us! They definitely have an effect on our hormone levels and I am just averse to messing with these! This can also be very dangerous with pregnancies.
  • Effects on menopausal women: There have been studies that indicate flaxseeds to be beneficial for women during menopause and unfortunately, those benefits tend to simply used for women with Endometriosis. They are very different conditions and there are other factors involved with Endometriosis women.
  • Flaxseeds may increase the risk of bleeding when combined with certain drugs or medications. One of the key ones here is ibuprofen, which many of us ladies use for Endometriosis. (Wellness) (Oilypedia)


Now, I can see that flaxseeds do boast amazing health benefits and they have been used for thousands of years. I also find that as a society, we tend to perceive something as healthy and then “have too much of a good thing” and tend to overeat on that food group. Flaxseeds are often recommended for women with Endometriosis for those very anti-inflammatory and omega 3 benefits but they are often recommended to be taken daily.

Personally, I am edging more on the side of caution when it comes to taking flaxseeds with Endometriosis. There are plenty of other food sources that can provide very similar healing benefits and I am not keen to risk the potential hormonal imbalance flaxseeds might bring with them.

How about you? Have you ever eaten flaxseeds in large doses? Do you find them beneficial for Endometriosis?

I would love to hear your experiences……


Hugs, Melissa x
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This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Melissa

    Total pleasure Sylvia. Yes, Flaxseeds would have an effect on your hormones and reduce those menopausal symptoms. There are other options to support reducing menopausal symptoms. Key ones are to sweat, rebalance the liver and ensure digestion is working well. You can also try other herbs to support you which aren’t as strong as flaxseeds in their effect – or maybe just reduce the amount you were having 😉

  2. Sylvia

    To add to my previous comment: Interestingly enough though all my other menopause symptoms went away. I had bad hot flashes several times a day, night sweats , brain fog and low energy.
    They all went away and I was wondering why.
    This is tough, but I rather have menopause symptoms than endo pain and problems. Powerful stuff those flaxseed!!!

  3. Sylvia

    I am so glad I came upon this. I am going through menopause right now but my endo symptoms have become a lot worse. Lots of pain , painful breaths etc and I couldn’t explain it. First things seems to get better. I have been trying to figure it out and this explains it. I have been eating a lot of ground flaxseeds in the last few months – every day. As a vegan I discovered ground flaxseeds as an egg substitute and have been eating them every day. I will stop immediately and see if this will help! Thank you so much for this info!

  4. Melissa

    Don’t recommend with endometriosis Chandra. Look deeper at the liver and digestive system to help your body conceive.

  5. Melissa

    I don’t recommend using Flaxseeds when you have endometriosis. There is a bigger picture here and it requires looking at the liver and digestive system to really heal endometriosis.

  6. Chandra

    Hello ladies I have endometriosis I’m trying to conceive is flaxseed pills good or not.

  7. Melissa

    It all comes down to the level of phystoestrogens in the foods. So, flaxseeds are very high but most are not. Almost all foods have some level so then we would be avoiding everything 😉
    Just avoid the big ones and reduce the dosage.

  8. Lior

    It has been a long time since this post was written, but if you still see replies, I have a question.

    I’ve known for the last few months about flaxseeds, dairy, soy, eggs, cocoa and cacao, caffeine, and other foods, as being bad for endometriosis, but I just read about cruciferous vegetables, peaches, berries, sesame seeds, and nuts, as helpful in raising estrogen. Does that make those foods just as bad?
    Thank you, Lior

  9. Anastasia

    I took Flaxseeds briefly, i have IBS associated with endo and Flaxseeds gave me diarrhea and bad tummy aches. I stopped. I am not sure about Chia seeds either.

  10. Anna

    I have stage 4 endo and adeno only diagnosed recently. A couple of years ago I started adding ground flax to my breakfasts daily and within a few weeks started spotting mid cycle but I didn’t connect it with the flax, had loads of tests for STIs etc. All negative. Finally stumbled across an article similar to this one and stopped taking flax straight away and the spotting stopped I also implemented other dietary and lifestyle changes and lost weight and my pain reduced. Last year I had a cycle of ivf but unfortunately lost the baby at 11 weeks. My period didn’t come back for a while after so someone suggested seed cycling to try and regulate my cycle so I’ve been taking flax & pumpkin ground daily day 1-14 of my cycle and sesame and sunflower 14-28 my period came back so I was pleased but then my next period after that was much more painful than normal and went on for much longer so I will be stopping the flax and not going near it again because for the three years in between of not using flax I had no spotting and my cycle was regular and my pain much less and then as soon as I reintroduce flax within 2 months the pain has increased and my period that is usually 2-3 days has been going on for 6 days now. This could be a coincidence but it seems unlikely to me and I’m not willing to risk it continuing to make my symptoms worse. Better to be on the safe side and avoid flax all together!! There are plenty of other alternatives that are high in omegas.

  11. Annanya

    I have stage 4 endometriosis and when I consumed flaxseeds I got spotting..

  12. Dani

    Hello. Thanks for the thoughts. I started taking flaxseed daily for 3 weeks and developed horrible pain in my abdomen and side. I thought I had a kidney stone but CT scan came back negative. I’m now convinced I have endometriosis and am having a laparoscopy in about 1 hour from now to find out. Interestingly it all came to a head with the introduction of flaxseed. Will let you know what is discovered from the lap.

  13. Shabana khan

    Yes. I do agree . I had D&C two years back due to endometriosis bleeding. After that I had regular periods. I started consuming flax seed in raw grind form with milk . I think it increased my estrogen level and believe me just now I recovered from 5 days of profuse bleeding and abdomen pain.

  14. Trisha

    I took flax seeds thinking it will balance my hormones but I got severe pain in my uterus. That’s when I researched if it is harmful for Endometriosis patients and was directed to this article. I would say if you have Endometriosis keep Flax seeds at Bay.

  15. Lili

    Is turmeric and ginger help to get rid off endometrisis

  16. Suganti

    I juz has endo surgery on last Dec. ..thx fr ur info

  17. Anonymous

    I’m very happy to come across this article .
    Ive had Endo for 18yrs .
    Until recently my periods were like clock work.
    I’m a fitness model & began adding ground flax to smoothies to increase my protein intake .
    2 months later I began spotting heavily mid cycle .
    Was tested for everything from Pregnancy to Cancer .
    Nothing was showing up .
    I was also experiencing cramps that I normally only get during my •
    Tonight I began reading all these articles on the bad effects of flax with Endo . I think I have finally figured out what is going on .
    I will Never Use flax again !!
    Good Luck 2 All the ladies who suffer from Endo & be careful what U ingest .

  18. wArisha

    Plz urdu mn koi batya ga flaxseed ka endometriss mn fayde plz muja edometrisis r ovarian cyst h plz muja koi udua mn bata da

  19. T

    Thank goodness I stumbled upon this website. You have helped me tremendously. I have had a horrible year regarding my health and have been recently to a number of specialists. I have had Endo surgery I the past, but most recently my flare ups have been unbearable and scary. Because of IBS (constipation side) that I have suffered from for years, I added flaxseed capsules to my diet, up to 3 times daily. I felt it was helping IBS, but not even realizing what it was doing to me regarding my Endo, even after various consults with doctors. I just this week stopped taking them as I was trying to see in various ways what could have been adding to my problems. Thank you so much for posting!!!!

  20. Mindy

    I’m a wee bit late to the party but I have just been diagnosed with endo and this makes so much sense now! I would add flaxseed to my smoothies each morning and during that timeframe was the only time I ever had endo symptoms mid cycle. I was usually just having pain during my cycle this definitely had me worried. Nice to know early on so I can manage this. Thank you!

  21. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing Merara. It is so true and couldn’t agree with you more. Like the 7day pre period strategy 🙂

  22. Melissa

    Glad you noticed it too 🙂

  23. Merara

    A clean liver is the answer to endometriosis. 5-7 days before my period I eat a very strict anti inflammatory diet- including lots of turmeric and ginger. I experience some discomfort, but nothing compared to the intolerable pain I suffered for many years.

  24. Merara

    This is so true. The worst cramps of my life I had them when I was taking taking flax every day.

  25. Julie Smith

    I can use flaxseed oil without ligans. The ligans really mess me up and give me cramps.

  26. SD

    Total agreement. My recent experience with flaxseed has me avoiding it like the plague. I had sudden onset severe pain that lasted for days.

  27. rachael

    Melissa I totally agree with you about the fish oils! They are fantastic for inflammation.

    I’ve been researching something else really interesting recently after being fortunate enough to find a trainer at my gym who really cares about health and healing.

    Anyway he swears by a good fish oil containing GLA, for inflammation it’s the first thing he puts us on as well as something called alkalising salts… have you ever heard of them?
    I take them in the morning to alkalise the blood which then carries more oxygen to the cells and helps damaged/disease tissue repair… obviously there is much more to it, diet and exercise remains a huge factor but I am seeing a huge difference in my ability to get through the month and my pain and i think its because of this and the fish oil.. 🙂 x

  28. Melissa

    Yeah, it is debatable. I think it becomes worrisome if we have it daily which many women do. I think Omega 3, fish oil and Chia are great 🙂 Same benefits!

  29. Belinda

    This is the 2nd time this week that I have read about the oestrogenic effect of Flaxseed. But how much would have to be consumed for it to really affect us?

    I prefer chia seeds or fish oil capsules for my Omega 3, as well as fresh fish of course.

  30. Melissa

    Well, at least if suddenly your pain does flare up, you could have a possible angle to research more on your body 😉

  31. Rachael

    Hi Melissa

    I have been taking ground flaxseed in my smoothies or to make gluten free stuffing with etc… For the past couple of months and I dont have a problem with it.

    Like most things I think the key is moderation and as I don’t have it everyday, it doesn’t seem to be flaring up my hormones and my pain levels seem to be miminal.

    It is a very interesting point you mention though and worth a mental note xx

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I'm Melissa

Sick of dealing with endometriosis and ready to move forward?

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