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

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

Black Don’t Crack? Um, Did My Face Miss That Memo?

Black Don’t Crack? Um, Did My Face Miss That Memo?

I am not aging like fine wine!

The physical aging signs are things that many people (especially women) want to stop. There is this unfortunate idea that youth equals beauty. This idea permeates our media- causing the fear of the inevitable.

Ever since I was young, I have been hearing that black people age gracefully. The prospect of this used to excite me.

So, what the hell happened?!

We are all going to age!

Factors that go into how we show our age and when:

1. Race and face structure- People of different races have different face structures. This is how we can tell each other apart. It is also how forensic scientists are able to tell what race a person was based on their skull (that was really morbid wasn’t it?)

2. Skin- Our skin is different. This is true not just in tone but also thickness and elasticity.

3. Genetics- These have a role to play in how we age. Some of us are blessed to age slowly based on inherited genes and some of us age quicker. Some of us get gray hairs early and some of us do not get any until we are 60!

4. Lifestyle- The choices we make and the things we go through during our daily lives can affect the physical aging process. Some of these lifestyle factors include diet, hydration, stress and sleep.  

Combine all these things together and you have people that age differently!

Black women and the aging process

Melanin is what makes our skin dark. The darker the skin, the more melanin. Black people tend to have a lot of a melanin.

Having a high amount of melanin protects us from some of the skin aging that is seen in people who have lighter skin tones. Because of this, it is not unheard of for black women to not develop wrinkles until around the age of 50.

Another thing that sets us apart from other races is that we have denser bones in our faces. This provides us with more structural support which also helps us to look younger for longer.

Black people do physically age though. It just looks a little different for us. Here are some common signs of aging that show up on our faces:

  1. Mottled pigmentation and hyperpigmentation- Our skin tends to get splotchy and uneven.
  2. Rough texture- Our skin tends to get rough in appearance and feel.
  3. Prominent nasolabial folds.
  4. Small degree of eyelid drooping.

My damn face

I do not feel I have received any of the delayed-aging benefits that come from having a lot of melatonin as well as dense facial bones. This could be for several reasons though. Let me give you a run-down of what is going on with my face.

  1. Lines under my eyes when smiling- These lines showed up around the age of 23.  At that time, I had considerable eye allergies that made me rub them a lot. I am thinking that rubbing was the initial cause of them, but they have gotten a little worse over the years. I have not seen other  people my age (almost 32) with them.
  2. Nasolabial folds- These folds are annoying. They showed up after I lost some baby weight and have not gone away. They make me look tired. I had gotten fillers a couple times (I hate admitting that) a few years ago, but I am unable to afford them now. To be honest, I am not quite sure if they made much of a difference anyways.
  3. Texture issues- My facial skin feels smooth but in certain areas, it does not look smooth. I think the cause is the combination of the acne I used to suffer and early aging.
  4. Hyperpigmentation- These dark spots are due to years of acne and picking. Although they are not from aging, they still are undesirable.
  5. Marionet lines- I have these lines that show up when I smile (they are worse on the left side of my face). They showed up faintly around four years ago but have deepened since I lost some fat.

So basically, I have not aged very gracefully in the face area. Maybe I just have bad genes? Who knows.

All I can do is keep applying sunscreen every two hours, try to get enough sleep each night, eat relatively healthy, work on my mental health and hopefully find some treatments for my skin issues. I guess my face will just keep aging the way it is meant to age.

It is what it is

So, I guess my black cracked. Who really cares though except for me?

Even though I am not particularly happy about how I am aging, I will not be getting fillers ever again. Nor will I ever get botox, a face lift or anything else like that. My goal is to be at peace when it comes to the physical aging process.

Thanks for reading this!

#aging  #antiaging  #skincare  #medspa #wrinkles  #beauty  #women  #over30

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

PCOS and Dating

PCOS and Dating

PCOS causes symptoms that can negatively affect our appearance, fertility and ultimately our self esteem. This can make dating difficult if you don’t feel good about yourself. It is hard enough for women without PCOS!

The unfortunate truth is that some people might be turned off by some of the PCOS characteristics. These people are not the only ones out there in the world though.

I believe there is someone out there for anyone. Someone that will love us for who we are. It is just a matter of putting ourselves out there.

For this post I wanted to discuss the ways to deal with our symptoms while trying to get into romantic relationships. The ones that I will mention can happen to women without PCOS too. If I get anything wrong or leave something out, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Dating with acne/oily skin

Whether a person has a mild or severe case of acne, a dislike of it is the most likely feeling. Women with PCOS quite often have high androgen levels (or there body reacts to their levels as if they are high), so having acne is very common for us.

There are types of treatments that will help reduce or get rid of acne but they may take some time to work. If a woman wants to get into the dating world while they are struggling with breakouts, they might feel as though no man or woman will want to be with them.

I believe that the following are ways to go on dates/find a partner while battling acne:

1. Nice hairstyle- Taking good care of your hair and putting it into a flattering style might help. You might feel good about yourself which your date/partner will pick up on. Self-confidence is sexy!

2. Makeup- Too heavy makeup will not look good and may make your skin even worse if it is the wrong kind. Just a light amount might go a long way though. Learning how to accentuate your eye area would probably help in detracting from the acne.

3. Eyebrows done- From what I have seen, eyebrows make your face. Having them look polished most of the time seems to make such a difference in attractiveness. Just my opinion though.

4. Nice outfits- I think that if you are wearing unflattering and frumpy looking clothes, it will make things even worse when it comes to the possibility of finding a partner. You don’t need to dress fancy all of the time but just wear things that are at least a little flattering.

Dating with balding/hair loss/hair thinning

This is a really tough symptom of PCOS. I have not dealt with it as of yet so I might be totally off base with what I say. The following are two ways that I think a woman with this problem could deal with it and have a successful love life:

1. Figure out ways to cover it- I think that figuring out a way to make the balding/loss/thinning less noticeable would really help when you are putting yourself out there. This could mean cutting it a certain way, wearing it a certain way, wearing a wig, putting in extensions to cover bald spots etc. Doing any of these things might also increase your confidence which as I said before, is sexy!

2. Explain and show- If you start going on multiple dates with someone, I think that it would be good to reveal the fact that you are dealing with scalp hair problems. Being in a long term relationship with someone means that they need to be able to accept all of you. If you show your scalp hair issues with a potential partner and they are completely turned off by it, then they are not for you.

Dating with excess facial hair

This is one area that I struggle with just like a lot of women do. When I was putting myself out there on OKCupid back in 2011, my excess facial hair was not as bad as it is now. It was still there though.

I am grateful that my now husband doesn’t care about my facial hair. There are other people out there in the world that won’t care about it or even notice it either. Here are ways to deal with excess hair while dating:

1. Keep removing it if you don’t like it- There are a few different ways to go about getting rid of the excess hair. Unless you are able to afford a permanent solution (electrolysis), you will probably always have to deal with it. If you are going on a date, maybe make sure to do some hair removal beforehand.

2. Explain it to your partner- If you have been on multiple dates with someone and things might start to get serious, I think it would be a good idea to talk to them about the excess hair that you have to deal with. They will probably end up seeing it at some point if it becomes a long-term relationship.

Dating with excess belly fat

Admittedly, I do not have this problem. Here are two things I can think of that a woman who deals with this could do when they are starting to date:

1. Find flattering outfits- I do not know anything about dressing for this body type. There are probably tips and tricks for camouflaging a larger belly.

2. Explain and reveal- If you go on multiple dates with someone, I think it is good to talk about your struggles with your excess belly fat. You have to see if they will be accepting of all of you which includes that.

Dating with fertility issues

This is another really tough thing that many women with PCOS have to deal with. Including me! The only way I can think of when it comes to having this issue and dating is to explain it to a potential long-term partner.

If they want children in the future it is important to be open and honest with them that it may be very hard to get pregnant. They will most likely appreciate knowing this before trying for a child with you.

In conclusion

These are all of the things I can think of when it comes to dating with PCOS. It can be really tough but I believe that anyone can find love.

Let me know if you have any tips for dating with PCOS! I probably didn’t cover everything.

Thanks for reading!

#dating #lovelife #romanticrelationships #PCOSawareness #womenshealth #hormones #men #women