Review on July 14, 2015
For many years, evening primrose oil has been taken by women suffering from menstrual and menopausal headaches or mood swings. Although there have been limited scientific trials of this natural remedy, many women find that it helps relieve otherwise uncomfortable symptoms. During menopause, it can be taken to help calm symptoms related to hormone levels and reduce the likelihood of hot flushes, mood swings, and painful headaches.
Although in some cases, headaches during menopause can be caused by symptoms such as lack of sleep, irritability, and stress, researchers have made links between these headaches and the increase in estrogen levels that typically takes place during menopause.
Evening primrose oil contains a pain-relieving compound called phenylalanine, hence it ever-growing use as a treatment for chronic headaches. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that excessive use of evening primrose oil may in fact cause headaches and painful migraines.
J. Kleijen, who wrote a recent study for the British Medical Journal notes that, “reported side effects include nausea, softening of the stools, and headaches“. A trial, which was undertaken to establish the best dosage to treat menopausal side effects, tested dosages ranging from two to 16 capsules of 500 mg. A dose of three to six capsules twice a day was found to be the most effective amount for an adult, without causing headaches or stomach pains. However, taking more than that seemed to increase the frequency of headaches.
Researchers emphasize the importance of checking with your doctor before you start taking any supplement, and to avoid taking it with other medicines.