By: Beth Walsh for Uterus1
Japanese researchers have found relief for women who suffer from endometriosis in the bark of the pine tree. Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, significantly reduced symptoms of endometriosis by 33 percent, according to a recent study.
|Call your doctor immediately if you develop severe pelvic pain. Schedule an appointment if:.|
Your periods have changed from relatively pain-free to painful.
Pain interferes with your daily activities.
You have pain during intercourse.
You have painful urination, blood in your urine, or an inability to control the flow of urine.
You have blood in your stool or a significant, unexplained change in your bowel movements.
You are not able to become pregnant after trying for 12 months.
Endometriosis affects about one million American women. The condition leads to the tissue that lines the uterus growing outside instead of inside of the organ. The lining is still shed each month, but is unable to leave the body, resulting in internal bleeding, inflammation and scar tissue. In extreme cases, women may become infertile or require a hysterectomy.
Endometriosis is associated with a variety of symptoms, but there is no consistent pattern and not all women are symptomatic. The most common symptom is chronic pelvic pain with a flare up just before and during menstruation. Infertility is the other most common symptom and the one that typically prompts a woman to visit her doctor. There is no known cause of endometriosis. Treatment ranges from over-the-counter pain medication to regimens that stop menstruation to surgical procedures including hysterectomy
The challenge in treating endometriosis has been finding an effective approach that doesn’t pose unwanted side effects. Researchers chose to study Pycnogenol, which holds a patent for reducing PMS/menstrual pain and discomfort, because of its minimal negative side effects. More conventional hormone agents used to treat endometriosis also can prevent pregnancy and cause osteoporosis and obesity.
The study, held at Kanazawa University School of Medicine, Ishokawa, Japan, sampled 58 women who underwent operations for endometriosis within six months prior to the study. After confirming regular menstruation and ovulation for three months before treatment, patients were examined before treatment and at 4, 12, 24 and 48 weeks after treatment. They were checked for symptom control including pain, urinary and bowel symptoms, and breakthrough bleeding. Patients self-assessed their pain and an investigator interviewed patients and performed gynecologic examinations.
Patients were randomized to two groups: those who took Pycnogenol and those who took gonadotropin-releasing hormone agents (Gn-RHa). Both treatment groups showed no differences at the start of treatment and reported severe pain, pelvic tenderness and pelvic indurations. After four weeks, Pycnogenol slowly but steadily reduced all symptoms from severe to moderate. Treatment with Gn-RHa reduced the scores more efficiently, but at 24 weeks post-treatment, a relapse of symptoms occurred.
Gn-RHa suppressed menstruation during treatment but no changes in the mentrual cycles of the Pycnogenol group were observed. Gn-RHa lowered estrogen levels drastically and in contrast, the estrogen levels of the Pycnogenol group showed no systematic changes over the observation period, said the lead researcher. Five women in the Pcynogenol group became pregnant during the study period.