Pine Bark Extract and endometriosis

May 1, 2010 Blog Post

Do you have endometriosis or problems related to painful menstrual cycles? There is a supplement that could relieve your symptoms and improve your fertility.


Many women with endometriosis continue to have pelvic pain even after surgical removal of all their lesions. In order to provide relief, many healthcare providers have used hormone suppressing agents (BioLimited hormones or BioAntagonists) like Lupron or Zoladex. However these treatments have not been shown to improve pregnancy rates and can delay your ability to become pregnant. Recently, a third option has been investigated: pine bark extract.


A certain type of pine tree is known to have bark that contains a potent antioxidant/anti-inflammatory called pycnogenol. In 2007, a large study [G1] randomly assigned women with endometriosis to take either a 30 mg capsule, twice a day of a pine bark extract or to take Lupron. In only four weeks, all women experienced a reduction in their symptoms. Women using the herbal extract reported that pain was reduced by about 80% and cramping by about 75%, where were the same as those on Lupron. But the women on the extract continued to have regular menstrual cycles, whereas those on Lupron didn’t, and those on the extract did not experience the menopausal side effects of Lupron. What’s more, at least 5 women on the pine bark extract became pregnant. Finally, women on Lupron had a rebound return of symptoms when they went off the drug, whereas pine bark extract had no such effect. Talk to your doctor about whether you should consider taking this herbal remedy if you’re in pain.


           This is excerpt from my book PERFECT HORMONE BALANCE FOR FERTILITY[G2]  (p. 299).  A follow up study[G3]  on this same compound found that women with painful menstrual cycles also experienced an improvement in their symptoms on pine bark extract even if they did not have a history of endometriosis. If you’d like to learn more about endometriosis as well as other diet and lifestyle tips on reducing the impact of this upon your fertility you’ll find more evidence-based suggestions in my book.


8 thoughts on “Pine Bark Extract and endometriosis

  1. I’ve been looking up where to buy pine bark extract online and they are referring to it as Pycnogenol, is that what you recommend? Thank you for your help

  2. I have been taking Coenzyme Q10 as well as Pine Bark Estract and will be starting another IVF cycle in a few days. While going throught IVF should I continue taking Coenzyme Q10 and Pine Bark Extract and if so should I stop taking it before retreival. Thank you Alissa

    1. Dear Alissa,
      It is most appropriate that you discuss this with your doctor. Since I do not know your clinical situation nor the details of your medical history; it would not be proper for me to provide you with specific answers. In general however, I rarely discontinue the use of these products in patients that I am taking care of. I do hope that this helps.
      Best thoughts,

      Robert Greene, MD, FACOG

    1. There is evidence of higher pregnancy rates for women with endometriosis/pelvic pain after starting pycnogenol. There is also lab evidence that it could augment egg quality. However, we should temper our enthusiasm as we gather more data. Thus far however the information is very encouraging. Thanks for your question.
      Fertile thoughts,
      Robert Greene, MD, FACOG
      Conceptions Reproductive Associates

  3. Hiya, I am really glad I’ve found this information. Nowadays bloggers publish only about gossips and internet and this is actually frustrating. A good site with interesting content, that’s what I need. Thanks for keeping this web-site, I’ll be visiting it. Do you do newsletters? Cant find it.

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