Evening Primrose: The Cure All For Hormonal Problems?

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a 1 size fits all solution to hormonal issues and imbalances?  There are so many different ways to address hormonal imbalances in women, and so many possible supplements to take. It can certainly be overwhelming, especially from a cost perspective. In the alternative medicine and holistic health field, a band-aid solution is never the fix. It takes time, effort, and dedication to turning your health around. However, sometimes there are some tricks to help speed up your healing journey, and Evening Primrose Oil may be just that.

evening primrose

What Does Evening Primrose Do?

Evening Primrose Oil is a fantastic herbal supplement that can address many different female issues. It’s known for being one of the most effective ways to raise progesterone levels in women. One of the most common hormonal imbalances that most women suffer from is an excess in estrogen levels, and a deficiency in progesterone. These too hormones can be best friends, and also worst enemies. They rely heavily on each other to stay in balance, and when one get’s out of line, the other one falters. When estrogen levels become too high in the body, progesterone levels immediately plummet and vice versa (however, it’s far more common for estrogen to be the hormone that is in excess). Progesterone is also a precursor hormone, meaning the body uses it to make other steroid hormones. A body that is lacking in this essentially hormone will surely be affected in several ways.

PMS, Cramps, and Cysts, oh my….

So how can Primrose help? Evening Primrose can be beneficial for a huge variety of some of the most debilitating female hormonal issues. It can help to relieve symptoms of cramps, pms, fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and more. Primrose doesn’t just raise progesterone levels, it also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It contains an essential fatty acid called GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). About 7-10% of Evening Primrose’s fatty acids are composed of GLA. When GLA is processed in the body, it converts to anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. It then interferes with the body’s pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (this inflammation is responsible for the muscle contractions that create period cramps). It also minimizes breast tenderness and can reduce the size of, or completely eliminate ovarian and breast cysts (by reducing estrogen levels in the body). Furthermore, it helps to control endometrial inflammation.

Progesterone: The Sexy Hormone

Progesterone can be described as the sexy hormone. It promotes clear and beautiful skin, soft healthy hair, prevents unwanted fat in the abdominal area, and improves mood. If you’re experiencing dry skin, acne, low mood, stress, excess abdominal fat, cramping, and more, you’re likely lacking in this essential hormone.

Furthermore, progesterone is essential for ovulation and fertility. If a woman does not have adequate progesterone levels, she may have anovulatory cycles, difficulty conceiving, or full on infertility. Progesterone is essential for carrying a baby to full term. For women experiencing fertility issues, it is a good idea to test for levels of progesterone, and other hormonal imbalances. For those who don’t have fertility issues, progesterone levels during pregnancy increase 100-fold, and woman usually feel hormonally fabulous during their pregnancies.

Why Is My Progesterone So Low?

There are many possible factors that can create low progesterone levels, and they can usually all be traced back to dietary and lifestyle factors that raise estrogen in the body. It is crucial to reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens as much as possible, as these can raise our estrogen levels without us evening knowing. The Birth Control Pill is a common medication that can make progesterone levels absolutely plummet. That being a very controversial topic, many find the Pill unavoidable. For alternatives to the birth control pill, look into the Fertility Awareness Method. And to detox from all that pesky excess estrogen, consume phytoestrogenic foods and eat a clean, healthy diet.

Vegetarians And Vegans Beware

I have found it almost impossible to find Evening Primrose Oil in a vegetarian capsule. Almost every single brand formulates their product with a gelatin capsule (which is not a vegetarian source). I have only found 1 single brand that uses a vegetarian capsule which you can find here. If you are unable to find a vegetarian capsule, the alternative option would be to find a liquid Evening Primrose Oil that is 100% pure and only contains primrose. Ensure that the product is intended for internal use, not just topical. The NOW brand Primrose is a pure product suitable for internal consumption, and is also a very inexpensive option. A dose of 3000mg per day is a therapeutic dose intended for addressing the above issues. For the liquid form, that is just about 1 tsp per day. If you are not concerned about gelatin, I suggest the Efamol Evening Primrose Oil for it’s quality.

Evening Primrose Oil may just be the fix you need to raise your progesterone levels so that you too can feel hormonally fabulous!

evening primrose

For personal nutrition advice or any questions on this article, you can contact me at kathyrhn@gmail.com

23 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy says:

    I am a 63 yr old women that under went a complete hysterectomy 7 yrs ago due to stage 1 uterine cancer. I have been cancer free since this operation but have been taking a vaginal suppository for vaginal health and I assume hormone help as I have no ovaries either. I feel low a food deal of the time and intercourse has become a little less interesting to me as I often contract utis after sex. The only health condition I have is glaucoma in both eyes so I take daily drops for this condition. Would evening primrose help me out with my mood, my lack of desire, help me cut back on utis? And is it comparadible with my glaucoma medications/ condition?

    1. Hey Cindy! I’m going to reply to this via email since we were just emailing 🙂

  2. Sophie says:

    ”And to detox from all that pesky excess estrogen, consume phytoestrogenic foods and eat a clean, healthy diet.”

    This is a little confusing. You say consume phytoestrogens in order to reduce excess estrogen? Can you explain how that works?

    1. Yes so glad you asked! There are many kinds of estrogen. To sum it up there are “good ones” and “bad ones”. We have tons of estrogen receptors in our bodies. If we consume unhealthy foods and are exposed to xenoestrogens (bad sources of estrogen such as plastics, pesticides, animal products, etc….) then bad estrogens will take the place in our estrogen receptors. Phytoestrogens do the opposite. Phytoestrogens provide your body with the good kind of estrogen, and when you consume them, you allow the good estrogens to take place in the estrogen receptors instead of the bad. We all need estrogen to some extent. Both women and men! Adequate amount of the good kind of estrogen helps to prevent osteo issues. So phytoesterogenic foods are so healthy for you! I hope this helps, please let me know if you have anymore questions! 🙂



    1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      Hi there, I would definitely speak to your doctor about this!

  4. Eden says:

    I have cystic acne all along my jaw and mouth area. I recently had my hormones tested and my progesterone was low. Do you think EPO could help with the rapid breakouts I am getting?

    1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      Absolutely! Estrogen and Progesterone are the 2 biggest hormones I look at first when assessing hormonal balance. If progesterone is low, whether you’re having symptoms or not, it’s important to bring it back up! It is definitely possible that it will improve your acne. If you decide to take it, I suggest doing it for a few months to give it time to kick in, but in my experience with clients it usually raises progesterone quite quickly. It just may take time for the acne to heal. Good luck! If you have any questions feel free to email me at kathyrhn@gmail.com 🙂

      1. Eden says:

        Thanks so much! I will give it a go. I’ve been on Vitex for several months with no changes so far, so maybe it’s time to switch things up.

      2. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

        I tried vitex in the past but to be honest it didn’t work for my body. Im a bit biased in that case because I know a lot of people see great results but I typically don’t recommend it because I felt ill when taking it. In my experience evening primrose works far faster! Also a therapeutic dose would be 3000mg daily for the primrose. And even if the acne doesn’t clear up right away, knowing your body is coming into balance is so important. But I really have a feeling your skin will clear up. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you’re currently on any medications, but it typically doesn’t contraindicate with any meds except for anesthesia. Message me if you get too results, I’d love to know! Good luck 💜

  5. Eden says:

    Thanks so much! I work at a health food co-op, so I will make sure to grab some primrose next shift. At this point in my acne journey, I’m more concerned with healing the root cause than stressing about the appearance of it. I will keep you posted! 🙂

  6. Amee says:

    Thanks for your article!

    I am interested in trying epo for my low progesterone and slightly low estrogen. I am also underweight and have always been that way. My gyno says if I gain weight then my progesterone will balance out. My question is how does epo raise progesterone exactly? Can it help with healthy weight gain?

    1. Amee says:

      * I’ve been on and off bio identical hormone creams for years and my progesterone is actually just getting lower, so looking for a natural alternative to really balance the levels

      1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

        Yes, I find creams don’t necessarily work as well as something like epo! Epo is always my first choice when it comes to raising progesterone 🙂

    2. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      Hey there great questions! If you “gain weight” your epo is not necessarily guaranteed to increase. I say this because you could gain weight due to eating a lot of unhealthy foods, which would only keep your progesterone levels at an inadequate level. So you definitely need to try and go about doing it the right way. It’s the right fats in the epo that increases the healthy prostaglandin levels in your body, which are anti-inflammatory and also raise progesterone levels! Your weight may level out once increasing progesterone. I also suggest reading my article on seed cycling! https://holistichormonehelp.com/2016/02/07/seed-cycling-how-to-balance-your-hormones-with-seeds/ Feel free to contact me further if you’d like to work more closely together 🙂

  7. Amee says:

    Thank you for the information!!! I read the article on seed cycling and I am intrigued and will try it, since right now my periods are extremely light and only bleeding for about one day – also with a “thin Endometrium” lining. Im 27 so the lack of hormones and periods shouldn’t be happening just yet! lol. I saw an endo who said its probably PCOS then another one who said no. So i say the heck with them Ill just figure it out myself. I will keep your contact email if things arent seeming to line up and need further help.

    I would like to know if I could take the Epo everyday along with the seed cycling? Since Epo is already high in omega 6 I didnt know if it would mess the seed cycling up.

    1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      Yes! Although I obviously can’t confirm, my initial thought is not PCOS. Usually with PCOS its a rage of hormones that you’re having, with heavy periods. You can most certainly to seed cycling and epo at the same time. Some people do epo just on the second half of their cycle when you would take the sesame and sunflower seeds, and thats completely fine. But for the people who are severely lacking progesterone I suggest taking it daily until levels start to balance. Absolutely feel free to email me anytime 🙂

  8. Laura says:

    Hi, I hope I’m not too late to reply. My average cycle is 35 days and last year I tried EPO & Starflower Oil as recommended for a breast lump and to balance my hormones. It completely relieved my breast lump but it delayed my period and I had very intense, prolonged PMS including very visual dreams. It also had an affect on my hormones and cycle length the following month after I decided it was best to stop using it due to the affect my PMS was having on my relationship with my partner. A couple of months ago, I decided to add in a sustainably sourced, high strength fish oil to my diet for Omegas and it literally made me feel like I was going insane, to the point that I had to stop taking it within two days as I was suffering suicidal thoughts. This also prolonged my PMS and my period was abnormally late again. In the following month, I had extended PMS over around 3 weeks and my period was a week early.

    After thorough research, I believe it’s due to the Phyoestrogens that are actually increasing my estrogen levels and causing absolute havoc in my body, so I am confused as to how Phyoestrogens like EPO and Omega 3’s can help estrogen dominance when it feels like they are make me go insane whenever I try to take them. I have previously taken Vit B6 which has really helped to relieve my PMS in the past, so that along with my adverse effects to EPO & Fish oil, makes me believe I have estrogen dominance but I find all of the literature on the Internet so conflicting as to Phyoestrogenic foods and how they help ease or increase estrogen dominance. Have you come across a similar situation before where phytoestrogens have actually had an adverse affect on a female?

    1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      Hello! That sounds like quite a health journey you have been on, and I commend you for sticking to the natural route and persevering when things get tough! Overall, progesterone and estrogen are always working around each other, and typically when progesterone is low, estrogen is high, and vice versa. It’s quite hard sometimes to keep the 2 in balance, when one can throw the other off. My absolute best suggestion is to get blood work done to confirm your hormone levels, instead of trial and error and wondering. I suggest going to your doctor and asking for progesterone and estrogen testing, as well as testosterone. That being said, results on tests may fall “within range”, however ranges on lab results tend to be far too high, and won’t actually tell you what optimal levels are. This is where I would suggest somebody like a nutritionist to analyze your blood work and confirm which hormones are out of balance.

      I don’t personally work with fish oils because I am vegan, and there are many fantastic alternatives. There are often many chemicals in fish oils, depending on the source of the fish (heavy metals, toxins from pollution, radiation, etc…). This is perhaps one of the reasons why you had suicidal thoughts and an adverse reaction. As mentioned I don’t work with fish oil and have never had experience with a client having this type of reaction, so it is a first for me to hear this! I am wondering if perhaps your progesterone is too high and estrogen is too low. It’s quite rare but still possible, and again a blood test would confirm that.

      As for phytoestrogens, please read my article here! https://holistichormonehelp.com/2015/11/27/powerful-foods-to-help-detoxify-too-much-estrogen/

      I COMPLETELY understand your frustration with conflicting information on the internet, as phytoestrogens and estrogens are a VERY misunderstood topic. The body has several different types of estrogens, some are stronger than others. We often get exposed to these very strong/”bad” estrogens through environmental toxin exposure, foods, pesticides, chemicals in body care products, and much more. But we need the healthy estrogens regardless. And when we feed our bodies with food sources that contain phytoestrogens, these healthy forms of estrogen take the place in our estrogen receptors, instead of the bad estrogens taking their place in the receptors. I hope this helps!! Please don’t hesitate to email me if you are looking for more information or would like more personal help. Thanks for the comment!

  9. Ashley Cox says:

    I have melasma and very low progesterone….I am scared to take anything even though I need to get my progesterone up…I’m scared to make my melasma worse!

    1. Kathy Chrzaszcz RHN says:

      I’m not sure how primrose would affect that but I would definitely recommend consulting with your doctor to see if it’s a possible option for you! Best of luck <3

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