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ask: Evening Primrose Oil for hormonal balance?

By brooklynstreets
 
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I've been taking Evening Primrose Oil and Vit E b/c I heard & read that both help to balance hormones. Since starting them, though, I feel pain in what I imagine to be my right ovary. Could that be related? I'm not ovulating. Should I reduce the amount I'm taking? Or the frequency? Thank you!

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Alison Beaver

Evening Primrose has an anti-inflammatory effect, and other claims have not been proven (by science). If you are not consuming enough of this particular fatty acid (this is what Evening Primrose is; it converts the fatty acic-GLA-into a hormone-like substance that stimulates contraction of blood vessels; it has not been shown to have an effect on hormones), then Evening Primrose may help some of your symptoms if you are having inflammation or eczema. Otherwise, I have not read that it balances hormones.

The side effect you are feeling is likely gas pains---this is a common side effect of Evening Primrose (upset stomach), and it can feel like it is in you ovary.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about any supplements you are taking, as anything powerful enough to help you, is also powerful enough to possibly cause harm or interact with other drugs or medications you are using. Evening Primrose has been shown to be fairly safe, however.

-National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM): Evening Primrose:
What the Science Says:
- Evening primrose oil does not appear to affect menopausal symptoms.
- Although some clinical trials have shown a benefit of evening primrose oil for PMS, the best-designed trials found no effect.
Side Effects:
- Evening primrose oil is well tolerated by most people. Mild side effects include gastrointestinal upset and headache.

More Information at: Discovery Health: Evening Primrose Oil:
"Because of this anti-inflammatory effect, evening primrose oil has been used to treat a wide range of aches and pains caused by swelling, such as bloating, breast tenderness and cramping associated with PMS and joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It's also been used to treat numbness and tingling in diabetics, skin problems like eczema, acne and rosacea, and patients with high cholesterol, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis [source: Mayo Clinic].

The benefit of taking evening primrose oil is increasing the levels of GLA in your body, which could be low if you're not eating enough of the right fats, drink too much alcohol, have low thyroid function, or are undergoing radiation treatment [source: Brown]."

November 30, 2010 - 10:53am
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