If you're a woman who has struggled for years with the not-so-fun side effects of hormone fluctuations during your cycle: this one's for you!
When I came across an Ad for Flo Vitamins back in June, I was intrigued. Relief from PMS symptoms and an overall more pleasant experience? Count me in. After looking into them more, I found tons of fantastic reviews and it seemed like the majority of people had really positive things to say - I decided to give them a try for myself! This is a completely unsponsored, unaffiliated post - just my honest, woman-to-woman review of a product that sounded like an amazing supplement!
So before we get started on my experience...what is IN these little pink gummies, and how are they supposed to help relieve PMS symptoms?
Flo Vitamins list three active ingredients:
- Chasteberry (aka Vitex agnus-castus):
According the the National Institute of Health's (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), Chasteberry, also known as "Monk's Pepper," is "...used as a dietary supplement for menstrual problems, menopause symptoms, infertility, and other conditions." According to Flo? "The herb for female complaints!"
It should be noted that some sources recommend caution taking Chasteberry if you are on hormone replacements, or taking a hormonal birth control pill - other sources did not cite concerns, and there were positive reviews from individuals taking birth control pills. Currently, I am using a non-hormonal method of birth control, so this was not a concern for me personally, but I always recommend consulting your OB/GYN before taking anything that impacts your hormones!
- Dong Quai (aka Angelica sinesis)
According to NCCIH, Dong quai (sometimes called "female ginseng") is commonly taken by mouth for menopausal symptoms, menstrual cycle conditions such as migraines and many other conditions. It works as an antiinflammatory and antispasmodic. On their website, Flo cites this as a big player in reducing menstrual cramps!
Overwhelmingly, Dong Quai has been used safely for thousands of years - but as with any herbal supplement or medication, there can be medication interactions! If you have any blood disorders, or are on blood thinners or hormone replacements, definitely consult your doctor first.
- Vitamin B6 (pyroxidine)
This one you're probably familiar with! Vitamin B6 is a vital nutrient that our body needs to create red blood cells and neurotransmitters, and even to metabolize macro nutrients! We don't produce Vitamin B6, and we need to obtain it through our diet. Vitamin B6 is inportant to our overall health, but a B6 supplement is often used to improve energy and mood - its a huge factor in brain health! What does that mean for PMS? Mood improvement, less cravings, less bloating...count me in!
That's a lot to take in, but I think that informed choices about what we put into our bodies is so important: everyone is different. Based on my research, and on my personality medical history/profile, this was a safe supplement for me to add to my routine. Herbal medicine is medicine - and all medications have potential side effects and interactions. This is also not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding mommas. If you have any concerns, always ask your doctor for advice - the more information, the better!
So let's dive right in. I started taking my gummies daily, two each day, for 8 weeks. Flo recommended giving yourself two months to notice full effects, so I made sure to commit to two bottles to allow this time frame.
Week 1: So far - haven't noticed any changes (although did not expect any yet) - its the week before my worst PMS week so I'm working on getting in the habit of taking them.
Week 2: PMS week - but you wouldn't know it! Usually I deal with a lot of cramping and hormonal acne during this week, but so far, no cramps, no bloating (definitely not typical for me) and my skin is really clear. I'm actually a little on edge because I'm not sure how know when my period is "imminent" lol! Usually I have some pretty telltale intense cramps the day or two before that signal to me "its here."
Week 3: Hello, period! For the first time in possibly forever, my period arrived without fanfare. I had essentially no pain at all the day or two prior, and mild cramping during the first few days. I found myself thinking, is this how it is for some people every time?? The pain of my cycle has been so debilitating over the years - hormonal birth control taken in continuous cycles from the time I was a very young teen just to manage the pain. Making it through an entire period with only a few days of little to no discomfort is completely foreign to me. I'm pleasantly surprised to have experienced benefits so soon, as FLO advises that it can sometimes take up to two months to feel effects. I had so little bloating that I felt comfortable wearing a cropped tee and high waisted shorts - definitely not my usual outfit during hormonal weeks!
Week 4: This is usually my "recovery"week. My skin is typically just starting to clear up, and then I get maybe a week or two of clear skin before it starts to have hormonal breakouts again! This time around? Not dealing with any major healing, just following my skin care routine and feeling really confident. As you can see in these photos - my skin was really clear and felt amazing. We went away the weekend between weeks 3 and 4, and it was so nice to go makeup free while we were out in the summer heat having fun!
Week 5: I cannot remember the last time my skin was this clear! I think that this has probably been the most notable change for me, especially 5 weeks in now. I've tried so many skin products to combat hormonal acne, and this experience has been really eye opening in that regard! Regulating the fluctuation of my hormones seems to be the answer I've been looking for, and Flo definitely seems to be doing that for me.
Week 6: PMS week and I'm bloat free, clear skinned, and feeling good! Honestly, going into this, I was hopeful...but also pretty skeptical. There are a lot of products out there making big promises that they can't back up, and when it comes to something like PMS and hormones, I had a feeling it was a "too good to be true" situation. So far, they have really exceeded my expectations, and I understand why they have a subscription option for purchases. I am definitely not a skeptic anymore, it's been a game-changing few weeks! You're looking at some super clear PMS skin for me in the photo below!
Week 7: This week...was rough. For the sake of our "science" here, I probably can't count this week as an accurate representation of my body on Flo vitamins. Just as my period started, I got hit with an absolutely terrible UTI out of nowhere and was in awful pain for a few days in combination with my period cramps (I promised a completely honest review…lol!). I think everything was intensified with that combination of things, so it wasn't the same easy period as last month on Flo, but I don't think it would have been bad under normal circumstances considering how little pain and discomfort I had leading up to it the week prior. Regardless, my bloating is still less than typical and my skin is clear!
Week 8: The last week of my "experiment," and l am honestly really impressed - Flo, I'm sold! I went into this expecting to not notice much if anything, and after eight week, I've been pleasantly surprised at how much of a difference they've made in my mood, my skin, and the overall experience I have during my cycle.
After I ran out of my gummies, I didn't reorder right away just to see how things went (and rule out any placebo effect for myself before sharing this post). A few days passed and...my skin started breaking out again, I started to retain more water weight, and noticed all of those old symptoms start creeping back again! I'm certain now that Flo vitamins have significantly made a positive difference in my hormone regulation, and once I started taking them again, my skin started to heal up again and I stopped getting new breakouts.
So if you're someone who has suffered from the effects of fluctuating hormones, I definitely recommend giving them a try!