Fifty eight women were surgically diagnosed with endometriosis and were then started on Pycnogenol within 6 months of the surgery after confirming regular menstruation and ovulation for three months. Women were randomized to receive either pycnogenol 30 mg twice daily for 48 weeks or a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (Gn-RHa), leuprorelin acetate depot, 3.75 mg IM six times every four weeks for 24 weeks. Patients were monitored at 4, 12, 24, and 48 weeks after treatment began.
Results: Both groups had similar symptoms before the treatments began: severe pain, pelvic tenderness and pelvic indurations. After four weeks on Pycnogenol, patients slowly but steadily improved reducing symptoms from severe to moderate. Overall, this group experienced a 33% reduction in symptoms of their endometriosis. The leuprorelin group had a greater response within the treatment period, but relapsed after 24 weeks post treatment. The Pycnogenol group maintained regular menses and normal estrogen levels during treatment and as expected, the leuprorelin group had suppressed menstruation and drastically lowered estrogen levels during treatment. In addition, five women in the trial taking Pycnogenol became pregnant.
Kohama T, Herai K, Inoue M. Effect of French maritime pine bark extract on endometriosis as compared with leuprorelin acetate. J Reprod Med 2007; 52(8):703-708.
Commentary: One of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility, endometriosis is a challenging problem for women and a complex problem to treat with natural medicine. New research shows multiple potential factors involved in the etiology and progression of the disease including:
- Retrograde menstruation
- Coelomic metaplasia
- Environmental factors
- Altered cellular immunity
- Increased inflammatory mediators