Is It Safe to Use Evening Primrose Oil While Breastfeeding?

When it comes to evening primrose oil, breastfeeding moms are always concerned about its safety. Evening primrose oil comes from a flower that is indigenous to the United States. It was a common plant used among the Native Americans to treat skin conditions, and can also be eaten. The root is high in essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 in just the right balance for your body. This article will discuss the safety of using EPO while breastfeeding and give you information on what it is used for.

Is Evening Primrose Oil Use Safe When Breastfeeding?

Researchers have not found any evidence that evening primrose oil use is unsafe during breastfeeding periods. It is considered generally safe, but it is also important to understand that use of EPO during breastfeeding has not been widely studied. Therefore always check with your doctor or baby's pediatrician first.

There are health experts that actually consider EPO to be beneficial to both mom and baby because of the natural occurring essential fatty acids. Studies have shown that dosage is considered possibly safe if you stay within the guidelines of no more than 3 grams to 4 grams per day.

EPO has a few cautions to watch out for including:

  • Do not use if you have a bleeding disorder
  • Use caution with seizure disorders
  • Do not take two-weeks prior to surgery
  • Always check with your doctor before using evening primrose oil or any other herbal remedies.

Benefits of Using Evening Primrose Oil When Breastfeeding

In terms of evening primrose oil, breastfeeding moms have found some helpful benefits of taking it. There are helpful nutrients that can help with post-partum and breastfeeding issues. These include:

1.    Sore Nipples

Breastfeeding can cause your nipples to become sore. It is very common early on when you just begin breastfeeding due to poor latching. It can also happen after long periods of breastfeeding or during your period. Taking just a capsule daily can help reduce nipple pain that is caused by hormone changes.

2.    Plugged Milk Ducts

EPO helps increase blood flow in the body. Taking evening primrose oil can help increase circulation to the breasts and prevent plugged milk ducts. The usual dose is 500 mg daily for plugged milk ducts.

3.    Breast Pain

Engorged breasts can be painful. A few different trials show that when using evening primrose oil breastfeeding moms experienced reduced breast pain. Just 1000 mg daily may help to relive the pain of engorgement.

4.    Conception

Reproductive hormones during breastfeeding are suppressed and can prevent ovulation. If you are breastfeeding and trying to conceive, evening primrose oil may help balance the hormones your body needs to begin ovulating again. It may also help to increase your cervical mucus making it more hospitable to sperm. The recommended dosage is 1500 mg to 3000 mg during the first two weeks of your cycle.

Note: EPO is not recommended during pregnancy so if you think you possibly conceived while using this supplement, discontinue use and see your doctor.

5.    PMS

Studies show that EPO can greatly reduce the symptoms of PMS including swelling, breast pain, depression, mood swings, and headaches. PMS symptoms can be elevated in the post-partum and breastfeeding period. One study showed that 89% of women in the study who took 3 to 6 grams of evening primrose oil daily had positive results.

6.    Post-Partum Symptoms

Hormone levels can drop dramatically after a baby is born. EPO can help keep hormone levels stable. This may help reduce the incidence of postpartum depression in some women. Taking a small amount each day for a few weeks after delivery may help prevent PPD.

Please Note: If you experience a severe depression after delivery see your doctor as this supplement is not a treatment for PPD.

General Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil

Besides the evening primrose oil breastfeeding benefits, it has been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans to treat skin conditions and other ailments. Natural health practitioners have found EPO to be helpful for a number of health conditions. The standard dosing is usually 500 mg twice daily taken with meals. Always check with your doctor before starting any herbal remedy. There can be drug interactions and adverse health effects in certain conditions. Evening primrose oil is used for:

1.    Anti-Aging

The essential fatty acids in EPO can help regenerate healthy skin cells. It helps to keep your skin looking young and fresh. Studies showed that people who took 1500 mg of EPO daily had moist skin, more elasticity, and a healthier tone.

2.    Acne

Evening primrose oil balances hormones in your body that lead to hormonal acne. The omega fatty acids help nourish the skin properly so it actually doesn’t produce more oil. This can help calm breakouts and make your skin appear healthier.

3.    Arthritis Relief

Essential fatty acids in EPO can help reduce joint pain and swelling. It can also improve general joint health giving them needed lubrication. Besides, there are also pain relieving properties with EPO.

4.    Eczema

EPO is a very gentle treatment for eczema to help sooth irritated skin, reduce itching, and give healing essential fatty acids to the skin. Numerous studies have shown evening primrose oil to be safe and effective for eczema.

5.    Slow Memory Loss

The omega-3 fatty acids can help nourish the nerves in the brain and help them transmit messages faster. While EPO won't cure Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, it may help slow the progression.

6.    Boost Omega-6 Fatty Acids

We can find many sources to supplement omega-3 fatty acids, but these need to be balanced with omega-6 fatty acids to fully do their job. Evening primrose oil is a good source of GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), a much needed omega-6 fatty acid.

7.    Other Uses

Research is ongoing into other uses that evening primrose oil may help. There is not much information if it is effective or not, but patient experiences have been positive. Always check with your doctor first. Some of the other uses include:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Natural labor induction
  • Strengthening hair and nails
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Relief of menopause symptoms
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