When it comes to treating the symptoms of menopause, more women are turning to all-natural, organic treatments as a way to combat these unpleasant occurrences. Wary of the possible health risks associated with hormone replacement therapy, many women have started exploring botanically based medicines, including evening primrose oil, as a remedy.
What Is Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose oil is an oil that comes from a plant originally from North America. Its flowers are yellow, and they open in the evening, hence the term, evening primrose. It can be used to treat skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, and acne as well as various other medical ailments including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and diabetes. Nowadays, it is most commonly associated with relieving the symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome.
How Does Evening Primrose Oil Work?
Evening primrose oil contains a gamma-linolenic acid, which plays a role in the production of prostaglandins in the body. Prostaglandins are similar to hormones. When their production is increased, it is thought to decrease the fluctuation of hormones inside the body during menopause, helping to relieve its symptoms. Most commonly it is taken in softgel form, similar to vitamin E, and should be kept refrigerated to prevent the oil from becoming rancid.
Unfortunately, almost no scientific evidence exists to validate the use of evening primrose oil as an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause. In fact, The National Institutes of Health has even classified the substance as possibly ineffective when it comes to relieving menopausal symptoms. Another study that appeared in American Family Physician also found that there was not enough evidence to classify evening primrose oil as an effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause.
Side Effects and Concerns
Although it is wise to always consult your doctor before taking any type of medicine or herbal remedy for any condition, Evening primrose oil is safe for most women to take. Possible side effects include mild headache, upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea.
Consult your doctor if you are considering using evening primrose oil as a treatment for menopause systems. Evening primrose oil can have harmful and unwanted effects when taken in conjunction with blood-thinning drugs and anesthetics. Also, if you’re pregnant, evening primrose oil may not be safe to use, as it can increase the chances of complications. Taking evening primrose oil while breastfeeding is likely safe, but it is best to check with your healthcare professional first.
Everyone’s body is different, and only a doctor can tell you what can work best for your specific situation and symptoms. ♀