If you’re having difficulty trying to conceive (TTC), sometimes you get to the point where you’ll try anything and everything — and sometimes, old wives' tales and internet theories are a go. Fertility pillows, sex positions, and even taking Mucinex during your fertile window are a few theories that some women have tested — and even found effective — but what about evening primrose oil? How does evening primrose oil help you get pregnant, and does it actually work?
According to the Mayo Clinic, evening primrose oil (EPO) can be used for quite an array of conditions, including skin conditions, breast health, Dyslexia, IBS, liver health, MS, bone and joint health, asthma, ADHD, prenatal and pregnancy health, and even mental disorders — to name a few.
Additionally, Kristen Burris, L.Ac, a women’s health acupuncturist and infertility specialist, tells Romper that EPO has been used for quite some time to "help regulate hormones, reduce PMS, increase uterine health, and produce healthier and more abundant cervical mucus" in addition to controlling inflammation in the body. And as you probably know, having good cervical mucus is an important factor in TTC.
"EPO is loaded with healthy omega 6 fatty acids, including gamma linolenic acid and linolenic acid. These components, once ingested, are converted in the body to prostaglandins that help reduce inflammation throughout the body, which is critical for fertility and for staying pregnant," Burris says. "When [TTC], inflammation can be a contributing factor in the inability to get and stay pregnant."
Additionally, EPO creates a healthy, "slippery," environment that helps the sperm travel up the cervix, through fallopian tubes into the uterus, according to Burris.
So what regimen does she recommend for optimal results? "Ideally, women can start with 1,200 milligrams of high-quality EPO daily, and may increase up to 3 grams if no noticeable differences occur with cervical mucus," she says.
As far as any side effects, Burris says, "Although some worry that taking EPO can cause uterine contractions post ovulation, this has not been proven, and is not something to be concerned with unless you personally experience cramping while consuming EPO. If you prefer to be conservative, reduce your dose to only 1,200 milligrams all month long, or stop completely once you have ovulated."
EPO seems to be a "jack-of-all-trades" kind of supplement, as it helps with many ailments, including TTC — and it doesn't even appear to be a useless old wives' tale. Thankfully, it's pretty tasty, so hopefully, you won't have issues taking it if you choose to do so. (Plus you can always take it in capsule form.) Bottoms up, and good luck.
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