Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Tomatoes for Endometriosis?

What do you think of taking lycopene for endometriosis?

Answer (Published 2/13/2009)

Endometriosis is an often-painful condition that develops when tissue that looks and acts like the endometrium – the lining of the uterus – migrates outside the uterus. This tissue implants itself on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the ligaments supporting the uterus, the area between the vagina and rectum, on the outer surface of the uterus, or on the lining of the pelvic cavity. It continues to act as if it were still in the uterus: every month, in response to hormonal signals, it thickens, breaks down and bleeds. With no route out of the body, the trapped blood causes irritation, inflammation, pain, scar tissue formation, and adhesions that can interfere with bowel function.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Women's Health - Women's health issues such as menopause, PMS and menstruation can often be effectively addressed through lifestyle, diet, and prudent nutritional supplementation. Learn more - get your free, personalized vitamin recommendation today, at Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor.

The most common symptoms of endometriosis are severe menstrual cramps during periods and pelvic pain at other times – during ovulation, intercourse, bowel movements, or urination. Between one-third and one-half of affected women have problems with infertility.

A study from Wayne State University in Detroit suggests that lycopene, a powerful antioxidant and the carotenoid pigment that makes tomatoes bright red, can help prevent the scarring that occurs with endometriosis. In a laboratory study, researchers found that it reduced the formation of a protein that causes scar tissue and adhesions to develop by 80 to 90 percent. And in presenting their results at a conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in November 2008, the researchers suggested that women who have endometriosis might be able to get this effect by increasing their intake of tomatoes or taking supplements of lycopene.

But please remember that this was a laboratory study. We have no evidence yet that lycopene actually does work to prevent scarring and adhesions in women with endometriosis, nor do we know the amount of tomatoes or lycopene women would have to consume to prevent scarring and adhesions. However, it certainly can’t hurt to eat more tomatoes. You also can try to manage endometriosis nutritionally with my anti-inflammatory diet. Because of the estrogenic hormones they contain, (naturally occurring as well as artificial), my colleague, Victoria Maizes, M.D., executive director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, also suggests a three-week trial of eliminating dairy foods entirely to see if it helps alleviate symptoms. Read labels carefully and avoid all foods containing cow's milk or milk products.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Find more information on endometriosis from Dr. Weil's Condition Care Guide.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here