Erratic hormone levels can put the body off-kilter, causing women to experience a host of physical and emotional side effects, from hot flashes and joint pain to mood swings and difficulty concentrating. Fortunately, a number of natural supplements and pharmaceutical options are available to help keep those hormones in check. But which pills reap the maximum benefits with the fewest side effects? Read on to find out.
Herbs have been used for medicinal purposes in ancient Asian and Native American cultures for hundreds of years. Now, they’re making a comeback as an alternative to pharmaceutical options like hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bioidentical hormones.
Most herbs work to restore hormonal imbalance using phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that mimic the effects of estrogen in the female body. Phytoestrogens can block natural estrogen when levels are high and act as a replacement for estrogen when levels are low. This maintains not only hormonal equilibrium, but also lessening the intensity of negative symptoms at both ends of the spectrum.
Popular herbs used to treat natural hormonal imbalance include ginkgo biloba, dong quai, ginseng, vitex chasteberry, and red clover. These herbs are all available as capsules or tablets, and it’s recommended to consume them alongside a well-balanced diet. Continue reading to learn more about pharmaceutical treatments.
Another way women use pills to treat natural hormone imbalance is via HRT. It works to treat hormone imbalance by introducing synthetic hormones into the body. Most women use one of two possible HRT treatments: estrogen-only pills, which are meant for women who’ve had a hysterectomy, or estrogen plus progestin, for women with a uterus. HRT is available by prescription through a healthcare professional. Continue reading to learn more about HRT and herbal supplements.
Herbs vs. HRT: Which One is Right for Me?
Most experts agree that herbal supplements are a safe and natural way to treat hormonal imbalance. They warn that HRT comes with serious side effects and an increased risk for breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. However, in both cases, doctors recommend that pills be taken short-term and at the lowest possible dosage.
You should always consult with a healthcare professional before choosing a treatment for natural hormone imbalance. The long-term risks of many popular treatments have not been studied by the medical community. Click here to read more information about treatments for natural hormone imbalance.
• Medline Plus: Hormones Overview –http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/hormones.html
• Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love’s Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.