Evening Primrose Oil and Pre Menstrual Tension (PMT)

January 4th, 2012


Premenstrual tension (PMT), also known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), is a combination of physical, emotional, and psychological disturbances that women experience at least two weeks before their menstrual period. The symptoms eventually disappear when the menstruation starts. 

The mood changes that are associated with premenstrual tension have been described since the period of the early ancient Greeks. However, it was only recognized in the medical community in 1931 and in 1953, the term premenstrual syndrome was made up. 

The main cause of premenstrual tension is yet to be discovered, however, premenstrual tension is believed to be triggered by the rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone, the female hormones that mainly affect menstruation and reproduction. The production of these hormones may fluctuate during particular periods of the menstrual cycle causing lower levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Furthermore, it has been proven that premenstrual tension is not caused by any underlying abnormality with the pelvic organs. 

Symptoms of Pre Menstrual Tension (PMT) 

There are over a hundred symptoms that are recognized to be caused by premenstrual tension. A woman may experience one or more symptoms before her menstruation. 

Physical symptoms of premenstrual tension include menstrual cramps, headache, breast tenderness (also known as mastalgia), abdominal bloating, acne, rashes, fatigue, swollen joints, weight gain, and headache. 

Similarly, psychological symptoms of premenstrual tension include food cravings, reduced sexual desire, insomnia, anxiety, and poor concentration. Some women also experience mood-related symptoms associated with premenstrual tension, such as irritability, anger, depression, and oversensitivity. 

Researches showed that the PMT is mainly caused by imbalance of female hormones before the menstrual period. The hormonal imbalance triggers salt and water to build up in the body, reducing the production of progesterone, the hormone that sets the uterus to accept the fertilized egg. Further studies revealed that hormonal imbalance is triggered by essential fatty acids deficiency on the diet, such as linoleic acid. Moreover, insufficient vitamin B6 results to irregular menstrual cycle. 

Treatment for Premenstrual Tension (PMT) 

A cure for premenstrual tension is yet to be discovered. However, there are several options in dealing with its various signs and symptoms. Treatment for premenstrual tension may include changes in diet, exercise, and lifestyle to reduce the symptoms and improve the general well-being. 

It has been observed that a healthy, nutritious diet and a consistent workout regime can help alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual tension. Moreover, symptoms of premenstrual tension for some women were reduced by therapy, such as acupuncture, aromatherapy, homoeopathy, Bach remedy, and massage. 

Several studies have proven the efficiency of evening primrose oil as a remedy for premenstrual tension. Evening primrose oil contains gamma linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid found in many plant oils that helps ease cramps and pain accompanied with premenstrual tension. 

Other studies also found out that women experiencing premenstrual tension are found to have an abnormal level of essential fatty acids. Hence, medical practitioners prescribe vitamin B6 together with evening primrose oil for women suffering from premenstrual tension to alleviate its symptoms. Vitamin B6 and magnesium have also been proven to be effective in relieving various physical and psychological symptoms of premenstrual tension. 

Some research has shown that evening primrose oil supplement helps to balance the hormones and relieve symptoms of premenstrual tension, such as swelling of the abdomen and tenderness of the breasts. It also aids in reducing depression and irritability. Additionally, evening primrose oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and has been found to be valuable in reducing pain and menstrual cramps associated with premenstrual tension. 

However, if these measures do not reduce the symptoms of premenstrual tension, over-the-counter or prescribed medicines may be recommended. Possible prescriptions for premenstrual tension include pain relievers, diuretics, oral contraceptives, suppressants, or antidepressants. Furthermore, woman suffering from premenstrual tension should be accurately diagnosed to be able to identify and treat other medical or psychological conditions. 



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