Baylor College of Medicine found that olive leaves could treat women with endometriosis. In the U.S., about 15% of women of reproductive age have endometriosis. It is a debilitating disorder where uterine tissue grows outside the uterus, causing inflammation and pain. It could also lead to scar tissue formation in the pelvis and other areas.
According to Dr. Sang Jun Han, a study co-author and associate professor at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Reproductive Medicine, estrogen, which regulates reproduction in women, controls the severity of endometrium. The hormone also plays a role in the functioning of the brain, pelvic muscles, heart, mucous membranes, hair, skin, breasts, bones, and blood vessels.
The research team has been studying endometriosis
Since there is a link between estrogen and the condition, scientists try to remove estrogen and control inflammation. However, this approach had yet to be effective. Furthermore, it can lead to serious side effects. For this reason, Han tries to find better treatments. In other studies, Han discovered that estrogen receptor alpha and estrogen reception beta speed up disease progression.
Dr. Yuri Park, another study author and postdoctoral associate from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, states that targeting estrogen receptor beta could treat disease. Moreover, it won’t lead to side effects from targeting estrogen receptor alpha.
The team hoped to find non-hormonal treatments
In this new study, Han wanted to find natural remedies for endometriosis that could give patients non-hormonal alternatives. The team found oleuropein, which occurs in olive leaves. It selectively inhibits estrogen receptor beta, diminishing side effects. They also found that it reduced the growth of endometriosis lesions in mice with no adverse effects.
Han adds that the compound wasn’t harmful to the mice’s livers. It also didn’t affect their fertility. Their findings also suggest that it is safer than existing testaments. It is also a cheaper alternative for women who can’t afford hormonal treatments.
Currently, some use birth control to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis. However, while some women can persevere, many don’t like the side effects of birth control, such as headaches, depression, acne, and weight gain. For this reason, alternative remedies are crucial.