Evening primrose oil is a fatty acid (linoleic acid) supplement that's available over-the-counter. Some small studies suggest that evening primrose oil may ease menstrual cycle breast pain, sometimes associated with breast cysts. But more research is needed as studies have been small and uncontrolled, and the evidence isn't conclusive. 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.
Let your doctor know if you're taking any vitamins, herbal remedies or other dietary supplements.
Oct. 08, 2015
- 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 July 15, 2015.
- Golshan M, et al. Breast pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- 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 Aug. 2, 2015.
- Understanding breast changes: A health guide for women. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/screening/understanding-breast-changes. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Laronga C, et al. Breast cysts: Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 17, 2015.
- Ferrara A. Benign breast disease. Radiologic Technology. 2011;82:447M.
- Evening primrose oil. Bethesda, Md. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/eveningprimrose. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.