An observational study found that supplementing with French maritime pine bark (Pycnogenol) significantly minimizes pain and inflammation associated with endometriosis when paired with oral contraceptives (Int J Womens Health. 2013 Dec 21;6:35-9). Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory condition associated with severe menstrual pain and infertility.
In the study, conducted in collaboration by the Brazilian Instituto da Mulher and Itaigara Memorial Day Hospital, researchers treated and monitored 45 patients between the ages of 22 and 37 who were diagnosed with endometriosis. The patients were randomly divided into four treatment groups and evaluated before treatment began and after three months of treatment. Of the four groups, two took only an oral contraceptive and two took an oral contraceptives with 100 mg of Pycnogenol.
At the end of three months the researchers found that oral contraceptives alone decreased menstrual related pain. The addition of Pycnogenol significantly reduced pain when taken with oral contraceptives and increased the efficacy of the oral contraceptives for pain treatment. Fifty-six percent of the patients taking Pycnogenol reported complete pain resolution , while not of the patients taking an oral contraceptive alone reported full pain resolution.