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Pycnogenol for Menstrual Discomfort

Pycnogenol for Menstrual Discomfort

Pycnogenol® for menstrual discomfort


Every woman in the reproductive age is confronted with regular inconveniences connected to menstruation. For 16% to 91% of menstruating women (depending greatly on the age), this comes with throbbing cramping pain in the lower abdomen (also called dysmenorrhea), which for some is just a monthly annoyance, for others strongly interferes with everyday life. 

Young women between 17 and 24 years old are generally most affected by severe pain during their menses. For up to 15% of women suffering from dysmenorrhea, the pain is so severe that they cannot attend work, school or other activities on a regular basis. Menstrual cramps are often accompanied by other symptoms such as back pain, sweating, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or tremulousness.

A more severe and chronic condition that affects only around 5% of women in the reproductive age, mostly diagnosed in the age between 25 and 35 years old, is called endometriosis. Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, causing severe pelvic pain during the menses and can lead to infertility. Severe abdominal pain, pain during sexual intercourse, difficulty with defecation or urination are the most frequently reported symptoms of endometriosis.

Pycnogenol® has been found to have beneficial properties for women who experience pain during menstruation. It has been established in several studies that Pycnogenol® has potent anti-inflammatory properties and does not affect hormone levels.

Pycnogenol® relieves menstrual discomfort and symptoms of endometriosis

To date, more than 450 women took part in seven different studies in which the effect of Pycnogenol® on menstrual pain. In an initial pilot trial, 39 women with either endometriosis, severe menstrual pain or other chronic pelvic pain took Pycnogenol® starting seven days before menstruation. Abdominal pain, menstrual cramps and tenderness were found to be improved in 66 – 100% of the women. These first observations have led to more research on Pycnogenol®’s beneficial effects on menstrual discomfort.



In a second study, 47 women with dysmenorrhea were supplemented with Pycnogenol® for 2 menstrual cycles. The scores for abdominal pain were reduced by 41% compared to pain scores before supplementation. In addition, the number of days with abdominal pain were reduced from an average of 3.9 before taking the supplement to 3.3 days with Pycnogenol® and from 3.5 to 2.8 days regarding back pain. The use of analgesics was reduced by 60% after the two cycles of Pycnogenol® supplementation.

Published in the International Journal of Women’s Health, another study showed that concurrant Pycnogenol® supplementation for 3 months increases the efficacy of low-dose oral contraceptives to improve severely cramping menstrual pain by 78% compared to the contraceptive-only group which reported an amelioration of 25% on the pain score. In the Pycnogenol® group, 27% of the women became pain-free, whereas no subject of the control group reported complete disappearance of pain after the supplementation.

Another 3-month study on endometriosis patients investigated beneficial effects of the combination of oral contraceptives with Pycnogenol® regarding endometriosis-related pain. In this context, it was observed that Pycnogenol® added to oral contraceptive intake further significantly reduces pain. 56% of the participants, taking Pycnogenol® in combination with an oral contraceptive reported a complete resolution of menstruation-related pain, whereas no patients in the oral contraceptive-only group was completely pain-free by the end of the study.

Pycnogenol® controls inflammation



Inflammatory processes were found to be a key mechanism in dysmenorrhea and endometriosis. During menstruation, the tissue lining of the uterine cavity is replaced, leading to wound healing and inflammation. In several studies, it was shown that Pycnogenol® has potent anti-inflammatory activities. Already after 5 days of daily intake, a study reported that Pycnogenol® significantly prevented the up-regulation of the pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Pycnogenol® French maritime pine bark extract is a safe, natural, and evidence-based solution to help with symptoms of painful menstruation and endometriosis without adverse effects. For a complete list of scientific research and for further information, please visit

Article written by Dr. Franziska Weichmann, Manager of Scientific Communications and Product Development at Horphag Research.


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