Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance

Written by laura lemay
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Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
Proper supplementation supports hormone balance. (Vitamins and Supplements image by Scott Griessel from Fotolia.com)

When hormone imbalances occur, proper supplementation supports the body's equilibrium. Use naturally derived oils and nutritional supplements as a companion to a healthful diet and exercise. Mainstream medicine has studied many popular supplements used to manage symptoms of perimenopause and menopause. Use of herbs such as black cohosh, evening primrose oil and liquorice, popular choices for symptoms' management, vary in effectiveness according to clinical studies. Take supplements on the advice of a medical professional.

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Doctor's Examination

Ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medicine or supplement to support suspected hormonal imbalances. Individual variations during adolescence, pregnancy and menopause vary. Knowing whether hormonal imbalances exist before using supplements allows your naturopathic or mainstream physician to determine the best course for you. Your doctor will perform tests if she suspects hormonal imbalance, including blood and saliva tests. She will test levels of oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone and cortisol.

Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
Naturopathic supplemental support assists the body in finding natural balance. (health image by Mykola Velychko from Fotolia.com)

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Using hormone replacement therapy to treat menopausal symptoms such as vaginal pain and dryness was routine until 2002 when a research study concluded that HRT poses health risks to many women. Traditional hormone replacement therapy supplements lower hormone levels with synthetic oestrogen and progesterone. As of 2010, doctors and their patients determine whether hormone replacement therapy makes sense on a short-term basis. In 2010, research suggests that shorter courses of hormone replacement therapy help women prevent bone loss, heart disease and colon cancer.

Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
Ask your doctor about use of supplements and traditional hormone replacement therapy. (pretty woman image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com)

Black Cohosh Studies

The practice of treating women's hormonal imbalances with herbs and other supplements has been common for many years. Lydia Pinkham's pills first brought black cohosh supplements to U.S. women after long-standing use by American Indians for menstrual and menopausal issues. Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup plant native to North America, is indexed by the U.S. Office of Dietary Supplements. Black cohosh extracts are standardised to deliver a certain amount of deoxyactein content, or saponins. Black cohosh controlled studies assessed symptoms using the Kupperman index, measuring insomnia, hot flushes, depression and vaginal dryness. Several studies conclude that use of black cohosh can help manage symptoms other than vaginal dryness. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded a study to learn more about how black cohosh works at Columbia University. The study supported previous conclusions that short-term use of black cohosh, for six months or less, may help manage some but not all menopausal symptoms. A German study of 300 participants in 2006 concluded that black cohosh, when used with St. John's wort (an herb used to improve mood), safely and effectively helped to manage premenstrual symdrome, cramps and most symptoms of menopause.

Evening Primrose Oil

Extracted from evening primrose seeds and injected into gel capsules, evening primrose oil is used to manage menopausal symptoms, but clinical trials show that evening primrose oil does not alleviate menopausal symptoms, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Supplements for Hormonal Imbalance
Clinical trials negate popular beliefs that evening primrose oil assists in managing menopausal symptoms. (primrose image by Deborah Durbin from Fotolia.com)

Liquorice

Taking liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra L.) and DGL (deglycyrrhizinated liquorice) as a supplement must be carefully managed. Studies show that liquorice use can create hormone imbalances, reducing the effectiveness of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies.

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