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Experiences of health after dietary changes in endometriosis: A qualitative interview study

Journal article
Authors Jenny Vennberg Karlsson
Harshida Patel
Åsa Premberg
Published in BMJ Open
Volume 10
Issue 2
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032...
Keywords dietary changes, endometriosis, gynaecology, nutrition; qualitative research
Subject categories Nursing, Nutrition and Dietetics, Obstetrics and gynaecology

Abstract

© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2020. Re-use permitted under CC BY-NC. No commercial re-use. See rights and permissions. Published by BMJ. Endometriosis is a chronic disease with no known cure. Persons affected by this disease often use complementary therapies such as dietary changes to reduce their symptoms, and so it is important to investigate whether and how these therapies affect endometriosis symptoms. The aim of this study was to explore how persons with endometriosis experienced their health after dietary changes. Design Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 persons with endometriosis who had made individual dietary changes aimed at decreasing their endometriosis symptoms. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim, and analysed using thematic analysis. Setting Region Västra Götaland and the estern part of Central Sweden, Sweden. Participants Twelve persons with endometriosis aged 28 to 44 were recruited from two Swedish endometriosis support forums on the Internet. Results Participants experienced an increase in well-being and a decrease in symptoms following their dietary and lifestyle changes. They also felt that the dietary changes led to increased energy levels and a deeper understanding of how they could affect their health by listening to their body's reactions. The participants understood that they could influence their symptoms through lifestyle changes. Support from family and friends was important in implementing and sustaining the dietary changes. However, the participants stressed the lack of support from healthcare professionals. Conclusions This study contributes to filling the knowledge gap about dietary strategies in endometriosis and lifestyle change as a method of alleviating suffering and increasing well-being. An important finding is that the participants experienced decreased symptoms and increased well-being after adopting an individually-adapted diet. Healthcare professionals should take their patients' knowledge and experience into consideration, and allow patients to participate in their own care. Further research is necessary to give evidenced-based dietary advices in endometriosis.

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