Evening primrose oil is a fatty acid (linoleic acid) supplement that's available over-the-counter. A few small studies suggest that evening primrose oil may help minimize menstrual cycle breast pain, sometimes associated with breast cysts. But evidence isn't conclusive, and more research is needed. Although the exact mechanism isn't clear, some experts believe that women deficient in linoleic acid are more sensitive to hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle, resulting in breast pain.
Your cyst or lump needs medical evaluation to be sure it's not cancer, so follow your doctor's recommendations. Let your doctor know if you're taking any vitamins, herbal remedies or other dietary supplements.
Nov. 09, 2012
- Non-cancerous breast conditions. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_6X_Non_Cancerous_Breast_Conditions_59.asp?sitearea. Accessed Sept. 18, 2012.
- Pruthi S, et al. Vitamin E and evening primrose oil for management of cyclical mastalgia: A randomized pilot study. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010;15:59.
- Salzman B, et al. Common breast problems. American Family Physician. 2012;86:343.
- Evening primrose oil. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Sept. 19, 2012.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening/understanding-breast-changes. Accessed Sept. 18, 2012.
- Laronga C, et al. Breast cysts: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Sept 18, 2012.
- Gallenberg MM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 11, 2012.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 11, 2012.
- Ferrara A. Benign breast disease. Radiologic Technology. 2011;82:447M.
- Pearlman MD, et al. Benign breast disease. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2010:116;747.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.