Vitamin C and E for Pain Management of Chronic Endometriosis
Updated: Jun 25, 2021
Endometriosis is estimated to affect upwards of 15% of the population of reproductive age and may be much higher in the subpopulation that experiences infertility. Endometriosis is an estrogen dependant condition, meaning that estrogen can stimulate or worsen the growth of endometrial lesions, and it increases local inflammation affecting pelvic organs.
Increased inflammation goes hand-in-hand with increased oxidative stress. The oxidative stress triggers damage to the cells and the immune system responds by increasing inflammation. The elevated oxidative stress which is common in chronic endometriosis can also trigger cell death (apoptosis).
In a healthy patient of reproductive age without endometriosis the level of oxidative stress is managed through the body's antioxidant system. The antioxidant capacity of the body helps to mitigate the negative effects of increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the cells. This prevents damage and can help repair damaged cells. However, in patients diagnosed with endometriosis, the level of oxidative stress increases and the total antioxidant capacity of the body may not be enough. Various studies have previously shown a decrease in chronic pelvic pain, reduction in pain during intercourse, and pain during menstruation in Patients diagnosed with endometriosis after treatment with Vitamin C and E.
A new clinical trial evaluated for the effect of Vitamin C and Vitamin E in patients with chronic endometriosis. The average age of patients included in the study varied from 35-38 years old. The treatment group was provided Vitamin C and Vitamin E daily for 8 weeks. After treatment various parameters, including malondialdehyde (MDA, a marker of oxidative stress). The treatment group showed a significant decrease in levels of MDA (meaning the level of oxidative stress had come down) and a decrease in chronic pelvic pain. In comparison, the group of patients that received placebo showed an increase in chronic pelvic pain after the 8 weeks.
How Does Vitamin C and Vitamin E Reduce Endometriosis-Related Pain?
The researchers hypothesized that decrease in oxidative stress reduced the activation of NFkB (a protein associated with inflammation) when patients used Vitamin C and E. Thereby potentially helping to reduce pain associated with endometriosis.
Do Vitamin C and Vitamin E help with Endometriosis?
Various recent small studies suggest that these vitamins may have some benefit for patients with endometriosis. While larger studies are recommended to confirm findings from these smaller studies, these therapies should be considered as adjunctive treatment options for patients suffering with endometriosis as they may help to reduce pain, especially for patients where the risk of harm from such therapies is low.
Pain during Sexual Intercourse and Endometriosis:
In the newly published study, participants also had a significant decrease in pain experienced during sexual intercourse after using Vitamin C and Vitamin E for 8 weeks. The control group reported a much more mild improvement compared to the treatment group.
Amini, L., Chekini, R., Nateghi, M. R., Haghani, H., Jamialahmadi, T., Sathyapalan, T., & Sahebkar, A. (2021). The Effect of Combined Vitamin C and Vitamin E Supplementation on Oxidative Stress Markers in Women with Endometriosis: A Randomized, Triple-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Pain Research and Management, 2021, 1–6.
This blog post is intended to educate viewers on the existing preliminary results of studies on the topic, and it does not represent a personal opinion about it. It does not give any medical diagnosis. For more information on about Vitamin C and Vitamin E for endometriosis, and if you have any questions or concerns regarding the Impact of supplements on your health or IVF/fertility treatment outcomes, please contact your healthcare provider(s). This article is in no way a replacement for medical advice or medical care, it is advised that anyone concerned about their Health should speak with their Naturopathic Doctor. Please discuss with your healtcare provider and only make changes to your medications regimen if recommended by your doctor and under their guidance.