A recent study found that vitamin E, with or without vitamin C, improved symptoms in patients with chronic pelvic pain.
Supplementation with certain vitamins can help reduce pain and inflammatory markers related to endometriosis, according to research data published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology.1
Endometriosis is a common gynecological disorder that affects roughly 190 million women and girls of reproductive age globally.2 The condition has a significant impact on patients’ quality of life and symptoms include infertility, chronic pelvic pain, abdominal bloating, nausea, and deep dyspareunia.
Previous research has shown that a possible key factor in endometriosis may be an imbalance between reactive oxygen species and biological antioxidants. However, there is currently a lack of data on the effectiveness of antioxidants, such as vitamins D, C, and E, in reducing symptoms of the disorder.
“Reducing the symptoms of endometriosis, especially chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, and dyspareunia, is crucial for improving the physical and mental health of individuals with the disease,” the authors wrote. “Current pain management approaches involve medications and surgical treatments, but their [adverse] effects and risk of recurrence have led to the exploration of alternative options.”
A team of investigators from the First Hospital of PuTian City in Fujian, China, conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on endometriosis-related pain. Data was gathered from the PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Scopus, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure databases.
The study included 13 randomized controlled trials with a total of 589 patients. Of those, 10 evaluated the impact of vitamin supplementation on endometriosis-related pain and 6 studied changes in oxidative stress markers after vitamin supplementation.
The primary study outcome was the relationship between vitamin supplementation and chronic pelvic pain related to endometriosis.
Investigators found that vitamin supplementation showed a positive benefit in alleviating pain related to endometriosis. Vitamin E, with or without vitamin C, improved symptoms in patients with chronic pelvic pain. Although vitamin D was associated with a reduction in pelvic pain, the difference was not statistically different from placebo.
Additionally, researchers observed changes in oxidative stress after supplementation. Time and dosage of vitamins E and C were inversely correlated with levels of plasma malondialdehyde.
Study limitations include a limited number of analyzed studies, different doses of vitamins used in included studies, and that confounding factors—like sun exposure and daily diet—were not evaluated.
“Our study demonstrates that the use of antioxidant vitamins supplementation is generally effective in reducing endometriosis-related pain and inflammatory markers,” the authors concluded. “Consequently, this therapy can be considered as an alternative treatment either on its own or in combination with other methods for managing endometriosis-related pain.”