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Oleuropein: A Promising Treatment for Endometriosis with Fewer Side Effects

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Oleuropein: A Promising Treatment for Endometriosis with Fewer Side Effects

Oleuropein: A Promising Treatment for Endometriosis with Fewer Side Effects

By: Jhoser Bermúdez Guerrero

October 22, 2023

A study conducted by doctors Yuri Park and Sang Jun Han from Baylor College of Medicine has identified a novel natural compound that could revolutionize the management of endometriosis.

A condition characterized by tissue growth

Endometriosis is a medical condition characterized by the abnormal growth of tissue similar to the uterine lining outside the uterus. This condition often leads to pelvic pain and fertility difficulties.

The study reveals that approximately 10% of women of reproductive age are affected by endometriosis, resulting in pelvic cavity pain and potential infertility.

Current treatments and their side effects

Current treatments for endometriosis primarily involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as COX-2 inhibitors. However, these drugs come with certain risks, including bleeding, gastrointestinal complications, and increased susceptibility to heart problems and strokes.

Additionally, hormone-suppressing medications may also be prescribed due to endometriosis being hormone-dependent. However, these treatments often produce adverse effects in women of reproductive age, including thinning or weakening of bones, hot flashes, memory loss, and insomnia.

Surgeries are also a common option, but they do not guarantee a permanent solution as the lesions may return. In severe cases, the removal of ovaries and uterus may be necessary.

Estrogen receptor beta’s role in the research

The study focused on the role of estrogen receptor (ER) beta in the growth of endometrial lesions. Researchers discovered that oleuropein, a natural compound found in olive leaves, inhibits the activity of ER beta, preventing it from entering the cell nucleus after binding with estrogen.

Promising results in mice

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The research team conducted experiments using mice models of endometriosis. The mice treated with oleuropein showed significantly smaller lesions compared to the control group, both in mouse tissue and human tissue models.

The results showed that the lesions were 6.6 times smaller in animals with mouse tissue implants and 6 times smaller in mice with human tissue implants. Additionally, the rodents treated with oleuropein achieved a 100% pregnancy rate, compared to 70% in the control group.

Moreover, the compound was found to reduce the presence of inflammatory molecules caused by estrogen binding to ER beta, without causing any toxicity to the animals’ liver.

A promising future

The findings suggest that oleuropein could represent a promising treatment for endometriosis, providing relief from pain and improving fertility with fewer side effects compared to current therapies.

However, further research and clinical trials in humans are necessary to confirm these findings before oleuropein can be established as a standard treatment for endometriosis.

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