Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

Be Careful with Supplements: My Experience with Evening Primrose Oil

If you have read my other blog posts you would know that I am definitely not opposed to taking supplements. The unfortunate thing is that they are not always good for me.

A couple years ago, I tried taking evening primrose oil and I found out the hard way that it was not the right thing for my body. I wanted to share what happened to me.

About evening primrose oil

The evening primrose plants are native to North America. Needing full sun, the plants grow quickly and easily. They can produce yellow, pink, lavender and white colored flowers which may have a lemon scent to them depending on the variety

These plants are edible. The roots have even been used like vegetables in cooking.

The evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds. It contains fatty acids that includes gamma linolenic acid, linoleic and omega-3. This oil is said to help certain health ailments which are as follows:

  1. PMS- Taking the oil by mouth may help with some symptoms women get before their periods.
  2. Diabetic neuropathy
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Eczema
  5. Acne
  6. Dry eyes
  7. Rheumatoid arthritis
  8. Asthma
  9. Psoriasis

Evening primrose oil is sold in softgels to be taken by mouth and in the oil form. The dosage by mouth is between 1-8 grams.

It is important to note that ingesting this oil may cause the following side effects:

  1. GI issues
  2. Headaches
  3. Seizures in people with epilepsy or a general seizure disorder
  4. Adverse interactions with anticoagulant medications, anesthesia and anti-psychotics
  5. Making PMS symptoms even worse.

Why I wanted to start taking evening primrose oil

My physical PMS symptoms have been pretty severe for the past 5 years. The dread that I feel each month for certain parts of my cycle, is horrific. I hate it.

A couple of years ago, I had been on one of my many searches to find something that could help make my PMS easier to handle. I came across evening primrose oil on a forum and was really interested due to the positive experiences people were posting.

When I looked up evening primrose oil on Amazon, the reviews I read sounded great too. I became sold on it. I ended up buying a bottle of softgels from Sports Research and was excited for it to come in the mail!

First and last time taking it

I was in the midst of horrible PMS when my order arrived. Knowing that it would need time to build up in my system if it was going to work at all, did not deter me from taking it a few hours after I got it out of the box.

The dosage on the bottle has three softgels as a serving size. Since I am sensitive to things, I decided to take just one the first time and then work my way up. I made sure to take the softgel with a snack as it said to do on the bottle.

About thirty minutes after taking it, I noticed a warm feeling come over me. The warmth quickly changed to hot. It was like my skin was burning. I then got really dizzy and had severe nausea. Those feelings together were all too familiar to me.

I was feeling like I was going to have a seizure.

Seizures were something that I used to experience in the evenings. They went away once I started on medication thankfully. The fact that I felt I was going to have one again terrified me.

My husband was around to help me that night and tried to call me down.  I woke up the next day with no memory of what happened after my husband came into our bedroom and sat with me.

I did not know at the time if I definitively had a seizure or not. After reading recently that it is not good for someone with a history of seizures to take, I am leaning towards the idea that it did cause me to have a seizure.

Evening primrose oil was not good for me at all. It was a scary experience that I never want to have happen again.

Make sure to do research the supplements you want to take

If you read a blurb about a supplement and it says it may help with a health issue that you have, look into it as much as you can. This is important so you know whether or not you should take it.

I really should have looked at the adverse effects of evening primrose oil instead of just focusing on the positive things that people were saying about it. Things just do not work for everyone. I am really glad that it works for others though.

Still searching for something that will help me

My hormones are completely out of whack. They may be even worse than they were back when I tried the evening primrose oil.

I am currently on the hunt for a supplement and or dietary changes that will help me have better menstrual cycles. Living like this is tough.

Have any of you tried evening primrose oil before? If so, what was your experience with it?

Thanks for reading!

#supplements #hormones #womenshealth  #periods  #pms #pcos

This Is How My Last Menstrual Cycle Went! How Did Yours Go?

This Is How My Last Menstrual Cycle Went! How Did Yours Go?

Yay for vagina shaped fruit!

It is always interesting to me how our hormones fluctuate which in turn affects the way we feel physically and mentally. While everyone is different in how they respond to hormones, there seems to be many people who have similar experiences throughout their cycles.

I decided to keep track of how I feel each day of one of my cycles and I will be sharing that in this post.

First, what are our hormones doing day-to-day in our menstrual cycles?

There are general ideas of how and which hormones change during the days of our cycle. This cycle of events leads to the possibility of getting pregnant. We still have to deal with the feelings that can come with the changes even if we do not want to be pregnant.

Here is what our hormones do in a 28-day cycle-

  • Days 1-7: This is the time in our cycles where women typically bleed. Estrogen rises during these days which may cause some relief in regards to PMS symptoms (if you get them). Some women still experience aches, pains, fatigue etc. throughout their bleed though.
  • Days 8-14: On these days, estrogen keeps rising along with testosterone. For many women, this means that they are in a good mood and have a good amount of physical/mental energy. Some women are sensitive to high levels of estrogen though so they may experience things such as bloating, breast pain, headaches, mood swings and decreased sex drive.
  • Days 15-22: These days are when progesterone rises. Testosterone and estrogen then drop with estrogen rising again towards the end of this time period. The higher progesterone level may make women feel calm and have an increase in hunger. It also causes us to burn more fat. If women are sensitive to progesterone they may experience rashes, hives, acne, nausea, bloating, fatigue, extreme hunger, anxiety, headaches and depression.
  • Days 23-28: These are the days when estrogen and progesterone decrease. Many women feel varying intensity levels of PMS but also have a little more energy than days 15-22 because of the progesterone being down.

Everyone is different. While many women have a 28 day cycle, there are many women who do not. They can have shorter or longer cycles. Also, some women do not get their periods regularly due to medical conditions (PCOS!).

My last cycle

I documented the cycle I just finished up. Some of my cycles include pretty bad symptoms and other cycles are mild all around. This one was on the milder side.

Here is what my days were like:

Day 1: Period starts with a moderate flow. Felt like my organs were going to fall out of my vagina and my back felt achy. Happy mood with a good amount of energy.

Day 2-3: Moderate flow. Happy mood with a good amount of energy. Decreased appetite.

Day 4: Mild flow. Weepy for some reason.

Day 5-7: Period ended on day five. Sad and bloated these days.

Day 8: Gassy and irritated.

Day 9-13: Happy, self-confident, motivated and had lots of energy.

Day 14: Stabbing pain in my left ovary but still happy. I took 40 mg of hemp (watch out for a post on that!) to reduce the pain.

Day 15: Very nauseated.  

Day 16-18: Happy mood, appetite and energy increase.

Day 19-20: Insomnia, very motivated and happy.

Day 21: Really hungry and mellow.

Day 22-23: Quicker to irritation, chin zit showed up and felt really hungry.

Day 24-26: Insomnia, happy mood, lots of energy (mentally and physically) and bloated. Craving chips and orange chicken with basmati rice.

Day 27-28: Chills with no fever, random body aches, mild headache, happy, mellow and bloated.

In documenting this cycle, I can see that I had post-menstrual syndrome (days 5-8). This means that I did not ovulate the cycle before this one.

I always experience one day during the month where I feel really sick to my stomach. My documentation shows that it occurred on day 15 of my cycle. This is the day when a women’s progesterone rises. I am thinking that I am sensitive to this hormone rising sharply which triggers the nausea.

Also, day 27-28 may look as if I was getting sick (flu or COVID-19) but it is actually normal for me. Some other women have those kinds of “flu feelings” before they start bleeding too.

I plan on keeping track of each day during the cycle I am on now just out of curiosity and to see if there are any patterns.

This was really interesting to me

It was not very hard to mark down what I was experiencing each day and it was interesting looking back on everything. Hormones are crazy things!

I love to read about how hormones effect other women so do not hesitate to share!

Thanks for reading!

Good Sources-

https://iapmd.org/hormones-and-pmdd

https://www.pmscomfort.com/pms-pmdd-symptoms/

#hormones  #periodproblems  #womenshealth #menstrualcycles  #periods  #pms  #pmdd

I Drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea And Here Is How It Went!

I Drank Red Raspberry Leaf Tea And Here Is How It Went!

I love drinking hot teas and I have since I was 15 years old. The warmth and the different flavors relax me while exciting my tastes buds.

The idea that the different plants used to make these teas can possibly have health benefits, is really interesting to me.

I experienced a bout of nausea again the day before my period was set to start in this last menstrual cycle. Peppermint tea is a common thing I use to quell it but this time I decided to try red raspberry leaf instead.

In this post, I will talk a little bit about these leaves and my experience drinking them in tea form!

Some information on red raspberry leaf

The raspberry plant is native to Europe and Asia. While not the most popular fruit to eat in the world, it still has a nutrient profile that many people love.

The leaves that come along with this fruit are also edible and considered to be nutritious. They contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium and antioxidants.

 If you are interested in consuming the leaves, they need to be gathered before the plant blooms and done in mid-morning. Once you have gotten all the leaves you want, you will need to dry them. When they can crumble easily in your fingers, they are ready to be stored in an airtight container (keep the leaves whole when you store them).

 To make tea with the leaves, it is best to use one tablespoon per eight ounces of boiling water. The leaves need to be steeped for around ten minutes for a full-strength cup (or cups) of tea.

Red raspberry leaf tea has a nice fruity smell to it. There is no fruity taste to the tea though. Most people who drink it say the flavor is more like that of black tea.

You can find red raspberry leaf sold in tea bags, whole leaves, liquid extract and capsules.

Alleged benefits

Red raspberry leaves are said to provide some specific health benefits. They are as follows:

  1. Induces labor
  2. Balances hormones in women
  3. Reduces the severity of menstrual cramps
  4. Lightens period flow
  5. Relieves nausea/morning sickness
  6. Boosts the immune system
  7. Soothes sore throats

There is very little scientific evidence behind any of these benefits. You can find a lot of anecdotal evidence for these though!

Science does show that red raspberry leaf may have some estrogenic effects to it. It is best to be aware of that if you choose to consume it.

My experience with red raspberry leaf tea

So as stated before, I had some gnarly nausea before my period was going to start in this past cycle.

When I looked into the cabinet that I keep my tea in, I saw that I had some red raspberry leaf tea from Traditional Medicinals. I remembered that I had bought it a while back for the nausea and menstrual cramp benefits. This made me decide to have a cup of it.

I made sure that it was not expired first so I did not make my stomach situation worse. Since the bags had not gone bad, I went ahead and made one cup to start off.

I sweetened my cup of the tea with sucralose (yes, I realize that is considered bad). The taste of it was very pleasant and was indeed like black tea. I liked it a lot.

It was easy to get down despite the way I was feeling. Within 15 minutes or so of drinking it, I began to have some relief from the nausea. It was not totally gone, but it was getting better.

I decided to have another cup because it tasted so good to me. After the second one, I felt even better!

A third cup was not necessary.

Permanently part of my nausea fighting arsenal

I do not know what makes these leaves helpful for nausea but I am not going to complain. It tastes better than peppermint tea and it works really well. I will be drinking it in the days before my period from now on.

Have any of you had red raspberry leaf tea? If so, did you like it?

Thanks for reading!

Some sources-

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/red-raspberry-leaf

https://www.britannica.com/plant/raspberry

#herbaltea  #tea  #health  #womenshealth  #menstrualcycle  #periodproblems   #pms  #nausea

Six Ways To Deal With The PMS “Hungries”

Six Ways To Deal With The PMS “Hungries”

I want all the food!

Many women experience PMS 1-12 days before their periods begin. The severity level ranges from person to person. One of the most common symptoms of PMS  has to do with our appetite.

A lot of us experience an increase in hunger and/or cravings for certain things leading up to when we start to bleed. It can be hard to control and distracting. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with the “hungries” and this post will show some of them.

First, what makes it even happen?

The short and obvious answer is hormones. They change, fluctuate, surge, drop etc. throughout our cycles prompting symptoms to occur. Estrogen and progesterone in particular are the hormones that are responsible for the “hungries.”

Estrogen is said to control our hunger when it is at a certain level in our bodies. When it drops, it is not controlling our hunger as well anymore. Progesterone is high in the second half of our cycles and is responsible for appetite increases.

Our serotonin levels (neurotransmitters that control our mood) also dip before our periods. This can make us crave certain things that will bring the level back up so that we feel better.

How to deal with the “hungries”

Being really hungry and/or craving specific things during PMS can be irritating (as if you weren’t already irritated enough!). Here are some things you can do to make life better:

  1. Allow some flexibility during this time- If you are into keeping your calories at a certain amount, consider adding some extra calories in during the days where your appetite is extra crazy.
  2. Know what food to not have around during this time- If you really get out of control when a certain food is around before your period, make sure to just not have it in your house.
  3. Get emotional support if needed- If you eat a lot due to your mood being low, consider seeking out some emotional help during this time. This may include meditation, watching inspirational videos, talking to a good friend, seeing a counselor online etc.
  4. Eat a higher fat, lower carb diet- Eating a low carb diet tends to keep many people fuller and it can also help balance hormones. Both of those things can help with the “hungries.”
  5. Magnesium and vitamin B6- Supplementing with these two things is said to help with cravings as well as other PMS symptoms. Make sure to not go above 100 mg of B6 due to the risk of nerve damage among other things.
  6. Have a “give in” day- You could have one day of the month where you just give in. Not necessarily binge but just let loose more than usual. One day of doing this is not going to make you fat.

Here are a few things that you should not do:

  1. Abuse appetite suppressants- Using things that will reduce your appetite is probably not a good idea.  They may make any irritation you have because of PMS, worse.
  2. Binge- If you feel the need to binge a lot, you should think about seeking help for it. You may have something called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) which is a more severe form of PMS.  
  3. Trying to completely ignore your increased appetite- Doing this may make your mental state even worse during this time.

Hormone fluctuations can suck

Our hormones can rule us and make us feel different types of ways that are not always good. If you find yourself with a bottomless pit a few days before you start bleeding, you are totally normal!

Try healthy ways to make your belly more comfortable during the second half of your cycle.

Do you get the PMS “hungries?” How do you deal with it?

Thanks for reading!

#pms  #periodproblems  #hungry  #womenshealth  #hormones

Period Repair Manual + Review

Period Repair Manual + Review

I love to read books. Always have, always will. Whenever I see book recommendations on the forums I frequent, I usually end up buying them or at least looking them up on Amazon.

On a recent perusal of r/pcos, I came across a few people raving about a book called, Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden. It sounded right up my alley so I bought it.

In this post, I will provide some information on the book as well as my review on it!

About the author

The author of this book is named, Lara Briden. She is a naturopathic doctor with her own practice that focuses on hormonal health in women.

Lara has racked up a great amount of experience in this field and claims to have had many happy patients.

What a naturopathic doctor is

This type of medical practice is based on self-healing  through more natural methods. These include botanical medication, special diets, meditation, yoga and more.

To become a naturopathic doctor, one must start off with a bachelor’s degree that includes pre-medical courses. They then will enter a naturopathic medical school which is another four years.

Unfortunately, this type of medicine is considered non-evidence based. The terms, “quackery” and “scammy” are thrown around a lot in conversations about it.

About the book

The Period Repair Manual is a good sized book with a lot of content presented. The overall goal of the book is to help women fix hormonal problems, naturally.

There are different topics that the author touches on. Here are summaries of the information presented in each area:

  • Hormonal/menstrual cycle information: Lara goes in depth about the science behind our hormones and cycles. This includes what hormones our bodies produce, what our menstrual cycles consist of, what our periods should be like and what happens to our hormones as we age.
  • Problems with our menstrual cycles and conditions: The book talks a lot about things that can go wrong in our cycles (i.e. severe cramps and bad PMS) as well as conditions that can make our hormones get wacky. Some of these conditions mentioned are PCOS, endometriosis, inflammatory conditions, thyroid issues, gut microbiome imbalances, perimenopause and menopause.
  • Treatments: Lara has a lot of treatments that she recommends for the aforementioned problems and conditions. Changing up our diets is something she makes a case for. She also talks a lot about how avoiding wheat and dairy products. Some examples of supplements that she prescribes to her patients include turmeric, vitamin D, vitamin B6, NAC, licorice and many more.

Don’t be fooled when looking at these three short summaries-there is a ton of content! The book also includes resources and a list of the supplements she mentioned along with what they can be used for.

My personal review of the book

The Period Repair Manual was an enjoyable read for me. It was very interesting and I could not put it down.

I loved that the scientific explanations are written in a way that many people can understand. This means that readers will not feel alienated which is a wonderful thing.  Also, the way that she breaks up the text using subheadings increases its readability even more.

I have done a lot of reading about hormones but I definitely learned new things from Lara! For example, I experience post-menstrual syndrome which isn’t talked about a lot. In this book, I found out that it is because of my anovulatory cycles (cycles where I failed to ovulate). The author says that means that a lot of the periods I get are not actually true bleeds. Wow!

Reading about supplements is fun for me. I have heard of all of the ones that Lara mentioned but I did not know exactly what they could be used for in regards to hormones. For example, zinc is something the author talks about as being helpful for PCOS and PMS. I had no idea about that!

In my opinion, her stance on diet might be off putting to some. She seems to be against low carb diets which has shown to really help women with PCOS. Also, the “good” diet menu example she gives pretty much only works for those that make a lot of money.

The sections about detoxing the body made me cringe honestly. I have heard about detoxification from quite a few health gurus and it always seemed fake to me.

Lara talked about there being four types of PCOS. This was very interesting to me. I am still not sure which type I would fall under though.

The last thing I want to mention regarding what I liked about the book, is the review at the end. There is so much information that the author provides so it is nice to have some main take-away points.

I would recommend it

The Period Repair Manual had a lot of content and was really interesting. If someone is struggling with their hormones and cycle, this may be a great resource for them.

The author offers many treatments for the variety of issues that women can have. In my opinion, it is probably not a good idea to go out and buy every supplement she mentions though. One should do some extra research on them first.

If birth control is something that a woman wants to be on, that is their choice. This book is just giving alternative options.

My rating: 4.5/5

As always, thanks for reading!

The book: https://www.amazon.com/Period-Repair-Manual-Treatment-Hormones/dp/0648352404/ref=sr_1_1?crid=O985BK3NCH9H&dchild=1&keywords=the+period+repair+manual&qid=1593554041&sprefix=The+Period%2Caps%2C215&sr=8-1

Lara Briden’s blog: https://www.larabriden.com/blog/

#womenshealth  #books  #bookworm  #hormones  #menstrualcycle  #periodproblems  #pms  #health  #supplements