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

Is Myo-Inositol Worth Taking?

Is Myo-Inositol Worth Taking?

I hate having PCOS. It has made me have screwed up skin, excess hair, pain, nausea and problems conceiving.

Over the years I have read up so much on the disease and the various ways to control it. One of the things women with PCOS have had success with is using a supplement called, myo-inositol. I have actually tried it before and still have a bag of it left.

I just wanted to discuss myo-inositol a little bit, my short-term experience with it and if I will try taking it again.

What myo-inositol is and the alleged benefits

Myo-inositol is a sugary substance found in foods (ex. cantaloupe, eggs, pears, beans and brown rice) and is made naturally in the body. It is considered to be a pseudovitamin.

It seems to have been studied quite a bit and shows some ability to treat certain conditions. The following is a list of the medical issues that myo-inositol may be of benefit for:

  1. PCOS- Supplementing with this may improve the symptoms that can come with a PCOS diagnosis. These include fertility issues (especially when combined with folic acid), too high testosterone levels, insulin resistance, irregular cycles, abnormal blood glucose levels, excess body weight, excess hair and elevated bad cholesterol levels.
  2. Binge eating disorder and Bulimia- This may help reduce the appetite and behavior that can come with these two types of eating disorders.
  3. Anxiety
  4. Panic attacks- Supplementing with this may reduce the frequency of the attacks.
  5. Depression
  6. OCD
  7. Psoriasis from Lithium- Lithium is a mood stabilizer that can cause psoriasis. Myo-inositol may improve the condition.
  8. Acne- Supplementing with this may improve acne in people with or without PCOS.
  9. Pre-diabetes and diabetes- May help control blood sugar levels.

The above list of possible benefits all sounds very impressive. It is important to note that the evidence for some of these is not as strong as it is for the others. In general, myo-inositol looks to be very promising in its use for medical conditions.

You can find myo-inositol sold in the form of capsules and powders. In quite a few products it is combined with another form of inositol called, d-chiro-inositol. This form helps the myo-inositol be even more effective.

Myo-inositol in powder form, has a mildly sweet taste so it is very easy to get down. You can put it in any beverage and either not notice any difference or notice that it tastes a little sweeter than normal.

Studies show that there needs to be specific doses taken to treat the different medical conditions listed. For the mental health benefits, a high amount of it is needed at a range of 14,000-18,000 mg. For the other benefits, a range of 200-4,000 mg is necessary.

As with a lot of supplements and medication, side effects can occur. The ones that are commonly reported include nausea, stomach cramps and headaches. There have also been some women who claim that supplementing with this made PCOS symptoms even worse. It is important to be aware of and watch out for all of these things.

I tried it before, should I try it again?

A year or so ago I decided to buy some myo-inositol powder. I was interested in trying it due to the fact that it can help manage PCOS. What I was hoping that it would help me improve was acne, menstrual cramps, insulin resistance (if I have/had it), excess hair and my chances of getting pregnant.

Since my stomach is extremely sensitive, I decided to start off taking just a 1/8th of a tsp which is equal to 341 mg.  This dosage is not enough to have much of an affect on PCOS but I felt that I needed to work my way up.

Within around 30 minutes of consuming it for the first time, I felt a rush of energy that continued for quite a while. It was like taking caffeine! This was pretty exciting to me.

I kept taking this dose for a while but unfortunately did not get the courage to increase it. The side effects that could happen at higher doses really worried me. Because of this, I was most likely not going to get much benefit from it in regards to my PCOS symptoms.

I eventually stopped taking it altogether and kind of forgot about it. The reason why I have thought about taking it again was because my hormones have been so messed up this cycle. It has been absolutely awful the past two weeks and I do not want that to be my norm again.

Not 100% sure yet

I still do not know if I will take myo-inositol again. My plan is to update this blog about it if I do decide to.

Right now, I am pretty desperate to get my hormones under control so I am looking into everything that could possibly help me. It is really frustrating, and I hope I can figure something out as soon as possible.

If you have any ideas/tips for me on this, please let me know! Also, let me know your experiences with myo-inositol if you have taken it.

Thanks for reading!

Sources-

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2834624/#:~:text=Exacerbation%20of%20psoriasis%20occurring%20during,with%20beneficial%20results%20%5B3%5D.

https://www.chiralbalance.com/blog/post/myo-inositol-versus-d-chiro-inositol.html

https://examine.com/supplements/inositol/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5011528/

#myoinositol  #supplements  #periodproblems  #PMS  #hormones  #womenshealth  #pcos

My Body Hates Hormones! + Tried A Different Anti-Nausea Treatment

My Body Hates Hormones! + Tried A Different Anti-Nausea Treatment

Okay so this totally sucks. Just after I scheduled my last post to go up that detailed this past menstrual cycle, my body decided to enter into a shitshow.

Let me tell you a little about it as well as what I took to relieve the nausea.

It was a little unexpected

I was coming off the high of a relatively mild menstrual cycle. Only one day of nausea, happiness most days, very little pain etc. For some reason I figured that my next cycle would be similar.

Well, I happened to be wrong. Way wrong.

I got to day nine of my cycle (August 20th) and a giant wave of horribleness washed over me. It was quite shocking. This was one of the days where our estrogen and testosterone levels get higher which means we are supposed to feel awesome. Yeah, that did not happen.

My body obviously did not like this shift in hormones. It told me this by causing me to feel nauseous, weepy, bloated, cramped up and achy. Not cool body. Not cool.

As I am typing this, I still feel pretty much like shit. Today is day 15 of my cycle which means progesterone is rising while estrogen and testosterone are dropping. With this shift can come even more nausea and unpleasant feelings in me.

Basically, this cycle will only include about four good days.

This is something that used to happen every month for me and it makes me sad that it has come back. I am hoping it is just a fluke.

Something new I tried

When my nausea continued to worsen and reach its peak on day 14, I decided to try taking something called, Meclizine. This is an OTC medication that is marketed to treat motion sickness and vertigo but it can also be used for any kind of nausea.

My husband bought a bottle of 1000 chewable tablets a while back but it was never my go-to nausea relief product. I felt like trying it because I thought it might be more powerful than the stuff I typically use.

I took one tablet, which has 25 mg of the active ingredient. They have a mild raspberry flavor to them and I did not mind it.

Within about 20 minutes I started feeling tired. I was really worried that that would be the only effect it gave me but once I got to the 45 minute mark, I could feel my nausea fading.

My upset stomach went away just enough that I could eat and get in my vitamins/supplements. Success!

The sleepiness that Meclizine caused me was the only drawback. I will still reach for one of these tablets the next time I need something strong for the level of nausea I am experiencing.

This is upsetting!

I hate how hormonal shifts make me feel and I would not wish this problem on anyone.

My plan is to keep documenting how I feel each day and what I eat just so I can figure out if there is something I am doing that is making the hormonal shifts so hard me. I just realized the My Calendar (menstrual cycle calendar) app on my phone allows for symptoms to be plugged in daily so I will be using that.

Do any of you have issues with hormonal shifts during your cycle?

Thanks for reading!

#hormones #womenshealth #sick #ovulation #menstrualcycle #periodproblems

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

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