Primrose Oil Boston MA

Many women use evening primrose oil for hot flashes, but it looks as if it’s being used to treat other problems as well. Does it contain estrogen? Evening primrose oil does not contain estrogen, nor does it stimulate estrogenic effects in the breast. In fact, the gamma linoleic acid in the evening primrose oil decreases the breast’s sensitivity to estrogen.

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Evening Primrose

Provided by: 

By Tori Hudson, ND

Q: I’ve read a lot of conflicting information about evening primrose oil. I see that many women use it for hot flashes, but it looks as if it’s being used to treat other problems as well. Also, does it contain estrogen? If so, should I be concerned about taking it, since my mother had breast cancer?

A: First, evening primrose oil does not contain estrogen, nor does it stimulate estrogenic effects in the breast. In fact, the gamma linoleic acid in the evening primrose oil decreases the breast’s sensitivity to estrogen.

Second, it’s best known as a treatment for fibrocystic breast disease. In more than one study, it alleviated pain and tenderness related to cyclic breast pain and fibrocystic breasts. In my own practice, I’ve noticed it can sometimes help relieve premenstrual headaches, irritability, and bloating. It does not do much to reduce hot flashes.

Finally, I often recommend using primrose oil supplements to treat menstrual cramps and pelvic pain due to endometriosis. I also urge women to take evening primrose oil to help preserve bone health, because it can improve calcium absorption. Other uses include treating eczema, diabetic neuropathy, and rheumatoid arthritis. Certainly it can’t hurt to see if it works—the oil is very safe and can be used long term without worry.

Author: Tori Hudson

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