Lycopene - the tomato antioxidant, could help endometriosis

November 17, 2008
Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes giving them their red color. It could ease the pain of endometriosis. In addition, it could help treat fibroids and scars caused by surgery. Endometriosis affects up to 10 percent of women. The condition is characterized by the growth of womb tissue outside the uterus after shedding during a period instead of being discarded, it normally only grows inside the uterus. The tissue reacts as if it were inside the womb, growing during each monthly cycle and causing bleeding. In addition to pain, the condition also causes infertility.

A laboratory study conducted by researchers at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, found that lycopene suppresses the proteins that encourage the growth of endometrial-like tissue outside the womb by between 80 and 90 percent. “What we found in our laboratory study is that lycopene can help with the adhesions that these conditions cause,” said Dr. Dbouk, one of the study authors. “One of the major complications of endometriosis is that it causes inflammation which induces adhesions. The inflammation basically causes scarring.” 
Although Dr. Dbouk said lycopene could help ease the symptoms and complications of endometriosis, he said it’s not known how much a woman would need to eat. “It’s certainly possible that you could get the amount you need from your diet,” he said. “Or if the patients did not like tomatoes, you could give them the lycopene as a supplement.”