Menopause is a natural process for women as they age. The body stops producing reproductive hormones, and it can cause many symptoms for women. These symptoms range from hot flashes to mood swings. There are several options for women facing the symptoms of menopause. One of the most common treatments for women can be hormone replacement therapy.
Hormone replacement therapy can be scary for many women. This widely used method to treat the symptoms of menopause has been shown to have long-term health risks. According to the Mayo Clinic, a large clinical trial found that hormone replacement therapy posed more health risks for older post-menopausal women. Despite these risks, the symptoms of menopause are unbearable for many women and they are looking for relief from their symptoms.
For those who do not want to take hormones, there are herbal therapies. One of the most effective herbal therapies to help with menopause symptoms is Black Cohosh.
How Black Cohosh Works
According to the University of Maryland, it is a phytoestrogen. A phytoestrogen is a plant-based estrogen that can provide the body with elevated levels of estrogen. This can help eliminate several symptoms of menopause by replacing some of the estrogens that the body stops producing after menopause.
What Black Cohosh Treats
In a study published by Women Living Naturally, Black Cohosh was reported to relieve a wide array of menopause symptoms. 49% of women who took the supplement reported relief of headaches, hot flashes, night sweats and vertigo.
In another study, those who took Black Cohosh twice a day had definitive improvements in their menopause symptoms. 76 to 93% of study subjects reported a decrease in irritability, hot flashes, depression, headaches, heart palpitations and insomnia.
Alternative to Hormone Therapy
Black Cohosh is used as an alternative to hormone therapy for many people. In Germany, the government oversight has approved it as a prescriptive alternative to hormone replacement therapy. The United States has not approved the herb in the same way, as it is only available without a prescription. There are standardized options for Black Cohosh that can be taken.
How Much Should You Take?
Because Black Cohosh is not available by prescription, there are differing opinions about the amount of Black Cohosh that should be taken to treat menopause symptoms. Finding the different recommendations on the internet is not recommended. If you are considering taking this herbal supplement to help treat your menopause symptoms, you should discuss your options with your physician or a qualified and licensed herbal medicine practitioner.
Is Black Cohosh Safe?
Black Cohosh may cause elevated liver enzymes, and this could be a concern if you are on medications that also affect your liver enzyme levels. This is why it is especially important to discuss supplementation with your doctor. In 2007, the Australian Department of Health required all Black Cohosh to carry a warning label about the risk of liver damage.
Aside from liver damage, there are other side effects that can occur when taking black cohosh. These included breast pain and enlargement, infection, vaginal bleeding and musculoskeletal complaints. Typical studies showing the use of Black Cohosh ran for less than 6 months.
Any herbal therapy should be discussed with your doctor. Many people have the impression that herbal therapies are automatically safe and interaction free. This is not true, and Black Cohosh is not immune to side effects and drug interactions. Discussing dosage and drug interactions with your doctor can help prevent serious health complications from occurring.
Once you have permission from your physician, Black Cohosh is often an effective treatment for a variety of menopause symptoms. The best part about using Black Cohosh is that it can treat so many different menopause symptoms. This can provide women with a highly improved quality of life.
Only you can decide if your menopause symptoms are enough to warrant supplementation with Black Cohosh. If you do need relief from your menopause symptoms, you may find that Black Cohosh is one of the more effective therapies.