As any women suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can tell you, it’s pretty damned awful… As the month ticks by and we get closer to our periods, the more our hormones start fluctuating, eventually wreaking havoc on everything from our bodies to our emotions.
There are several theories as to what causes PMS, but the majority of researchers believe that it is due a hormonal imbalance known as ‘oestrogen dominance’ coupled with higher levels of the hormone prolactin.
Hormones are essential for our bodies to function. Without them we wouldn’t have breasts, babies or any of the other things which makes us women. And they aren’t the problem per se. Instead it is when there is too much or too little of them in our systems that we develop symptoms of PMS.
And this is where natural supplements like evening primrose oil can help reset this imbalance and reduce the symptoms of PMS.
EVENING PRIMROSE OIL & ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
For centuries, both Native Americans and European settlers used evening primrose oil for food. The seeds of the flower were cold pressed for oil, unknowingly taking advantage of its many health benefits.
What makes evening primrose oil so special is that it contains a high in essential fatty acids. (EFAs) Essential fatty acids are vital to providing the building blocks for cell membranes as well as a wide variety of hormones and hormone-like chemical compounds in the body, making them necessary for human health.
In fact, EFAs play such an important role that scientists believe that when we have too little in our bodies, we can develop of a range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
In particular, evening primrose oil is valued for its omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which play a crucial role in healthy body functioning, normal growth and development. Evening primrose oil also contains a high proportion of two other types of essential fatty acids called linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the latter of which is has powerful anti-inflammatory action within the body.
But because our bodies can’t make EFAs themselves, we can quickly become deficient – especially in omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids – which is why ti sometimes becomes necessary to add in a high-quality supplement like evening primrose oil to help our bodies out.
EVENING PRIMROSE OIL FOR PMS
Because of evening primrose oil’s high EFA content – especially omega-3, omega-6 and GLA – it has the ability to positively affect hormones and reduce PMS symptoms. Evening primrose oil is thought to help by supporting hormone production and easing hormone imbalances which can lead to:
- Reducing breast tenderness
- Easing of period pains and heavy bleeding
- Easing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Lessening hormonal acne
- Reducing brain fog, headaches and irritability
- Increasing fertility and balancing menstrual cycles
Therapeutic Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil for PMS
Throughout the month, our the parts of our endocrine system which are involved with our menstrual cycle, including the ovaries, release and regulate the secretion of different hormones like estrogen, progesterone and prolactin.
This is why, as mentioned before, just before we get our periods we often start experiencing those tell-tale signs of PMS. Physical symptoms can include tender breasts, bloating, water retention, and acne while psychologically we can feel depressed, irritable, anxious, and generally just unable to think straight.
Evening primrose oil has a range of therapeutic properties and benefits which work together to reduce many of the symptoms of PMS. Let’s take a look at some of the most profound of these that can help you get through the worst of your period.
1. Evening Primrose Oil for Hormone Balancing
Getting enough omega-6 fatty acids help support overall hormonal functioning within the body with research showing that these hormone related PMS symptoms subside after supplementing with evening primrose oil.
Scientists believe its because evening primrose oil contains something called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA can be converted into prostaglandin E1 by the body, and it is believed to help control the effects of the excess prolactin. Similarly, EFAs also significantly balance other hormones such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and testosterone which all play a role in the development of many of the symptoms of PMS.
How To Use It:
To ease the symptoms of PMS, it is recommended to take 500 mg to 6,000 mg one to four times a day. Some women find that taking about 3,000 mg a day works best to help reduce their PMS, including symptoms like depression, irritability, breast pain and tenderness as well as fluid retention and bloating. Start with the smallest dose possible, and increase as needed to relieve symptoms.
2. Evening Primrose Oil for Acne
The same GLAs which are responsible for helping balance hormones and reduce excess prolactin, are also believed to be have anti-inflammatory properties. The benefits of this for our bodies and skin are numerous. GLAs not only converts to prostaglandin which has hormone-like effects on the skin and body, but also help combat the irritation and redness associated with acne breakouts. And because EFAs also play a role in cell structure, improving nerve function and promoting skin elasticity and hydration all of these benefits can translate in clearer, balanced and acne-free skin.
How To Use It:
As an acne treatment, evening primrose oil can be used both internally and topically. To get the hormone-balancing effects of evening primrose oil, participants in one acne study received two capsules a day or 200 mg of GLA for a total of ten weeks. It is best to follow the recommended dosage provided on the product or by your doctor. For direct application to affected areas, mix it with a carrier oil like grape-seed or jojoba and smooth it all over the skin. You can also use it directly as a spot treatment on dry patches or inflamed spots.
3. Evening Primrose Oil for Period Pains & Breast Tenderness
The high levels of the EFAs found in evening primrose oil also has a direct effect on the cells within the uterus. EFAs cause the contraction and relaxation of muscle tissue especially helping to tone the muscle tissue in the uterus. This can greatly help to reduce cramping and period pains that are caused by uterine contractions.
Similarly, the GLAs in evening primrose oil which convert to a prostaglandin and works as natural anti-inflammatory, counteracts the painful cramping, lower back pain and breast tenderness caused by inflammatory hormones.
How To Use It:
To get the most out of evening primrose oil’s anti-inflammatory properties for period pains, it is recommended to take one 1000 mg capsule three times daily with food for 12 weeks, then reduce the dosage to just one capsule daily. For breast tenderness it is recommended to take 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg or 2.4 mL of evening primrose oil daily for six months.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with a physician if you have a serious medical condition or use prescription medications. A doctor’s advice should always be sought before before embarking on any new treatment.