A 2013 clinical trial has shown that melatonin may be a useful natural supplement for women with endometriosis.
Researchers at the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA)/Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil, conducted an eight-week, phase II clinical trial (randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled) with the intent to compare the effects of melatonin versus a placebo on the pelvic pain level, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) level* and quality of sleep of women with endometriosis.
Participants: 40 females, ages 18 to 45 years old, were randomized into two groups
Group 1 received 10 milligrams (mg) of melatonin per day (n=20) for 8 weeks
Group 2 received a placebo each day (n=20) for 8 weeks
- each having a confirmed diagnosis of endometriosis through laparoscopy
- each having any of the stages of endometriosis, from stage 1 to stage 4
- each experiencing moderate-to-severe, chronic pelvic pain for more than 6 months
“Melatonin improved sleep quality, reduced the risk of using an analgesic by 80%, and reduced BNDF levels independently of its effect on pain. This study provides additional evidence regarding the analgesic effects of melatonin on EACPP [Endometriosis-associated chronic pelvic pain] and melatonin’s ability to improve sleep quality. Additionally, the study revealed that melatonin modulates the secretion of BDNF and pain through distinct mechanisms.”4
In summary, “Melatonin is well tolerated by most patients and appears to represent an effective option for pain symptoms related to endometriosis,” says Dr. Tori Hudson. “This study demonstrated that melatonin at 10 mg/day reduces endometriosis associated chronic pelvic pain, including a reduction in pelvic pain, pelvic pain during menses, pain during vaginal penetration, pain during urination and pain during defecation that is statistically and clinically significant. This reduction in pelvic pain due to melatonin was of a magnitude > 35% overall, as well as an 80% reduction in analgesic use.”
Significance of such a study:
Women with endometriosis, no matter the stage, commonly experience some level of pain that they seek relief from. Analgesics, hormonal birth control, and surgery are often suggested by medical healthcare providers to manage the symptoms of endometriosis. While these may be temporarily effective, for a variety of reasons, many women wish for natural alternatives to manage pain and support their bodies, particularly when trying to conceive.
Endometriosis is a fertility health condition in which endometrial tissues grow outside of the uterus on other reproductive organs and in the abdominal cavity – tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue. This misplaced endometrial tissue grows and sheds in response to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle.
The growth and shedding of the misplaced endometrial tissue for most every woman with endometriosis results in inflammation and chronic pain including:
- painful menstruation
- lower abdominal or back pain
- burning pain over the site where displaced endometrial tissue resides
- constant pain all month long, each subsequent cycle
- pain during intercourse
- pain during bowel movements and urination
- abdominal and ovarian swelling are also common symptoms
There are a variety of theories about the reasons for the development of endometriosis. Estrogen, namely an excess of it, is known to be the main culprit. Estrogen promotes the growth of endometrial tissue no matter where it is within the body. We know it is critical to explore ways to reduce exposure to excess estrogens and chemicals called xenohormones that have a negative impact on the body’s ability to balance hormones naturally.
For helpful, accurate information about endometriosis and a wealth of articles outlining natural therapies and medical treatments known to be helpful in managing this fertility health condition, visit the article The Best Natural Alternative Therapies for Endometriosis.
To learn more about melatonin and its impact on fertility health read the article:
The Role of Melatonin and the Circadian Rhythm in Female Reproduction.
*Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels: “Neurotrophic factors are a family of proteins that are responsible for the growth and survival of nerve cells during development, and for the maintenance of adult nerve cells.” 2
- Hudson, Dr. Tori. (2014, May 21). The Effect of Melatonin in the Treatment of Endometriosis. Retrieved from: http://drtorihudson.com/general/dietary-supplements/the-effect-of-melatonin-in-the-treatment-of-endometriosis/
- Liou, S. (2010, June 26). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Retrieved from: http://web.stanford.edu/group/hopes/cgi-bin/hopes_test/brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor-bdnf/
- Rodriguez, H. (n.d.). 5 Steps to Reversing Endometriosis Infertility. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/endometriosis
- Schwertner A, Conceicao dos Santos C, Costa G, et al. (2013, June). Efficacy of melatonin in the treatment of placebo endometriosis: A phase II, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. PAIN 2013;154(6):874-881. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S030439591300081X