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The Effects of Milk Thistle on Menopause

by
author image Cheryl Grace Myers
Cheryl Myers has has a master's degree from Saint Leo University and currently writes for several publications including Fit Pregnancy, Guideposts and Parent's Magazine.
The Effects of Milk Thistle on Menopause
Milk thistle growing in a desert. Photo Credit ap-images/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Milk thistle is a cleansing herb, used by many women going through menopause. Natural herbs may assist women who are going through the changes of life, particularly milk thistle. Although numerous herbs can assist with menopausal symptoms, Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., a practitioner in the field of integrative medicine, suggests that several studies have shown that milk thistle appears safe and well tolerated.

Reduces Anxiety

Milk thistle may reduce anxiety and improve depression. As a woman prepares to end her childbearing years, hormonal changes take place. Typical, everyday stresses can seem even more overwhelming than before the start of menopause. Phyllis D. Light, a registered herbalist and professor of herbal studies at Clayton College of Natural Health in Birmingham, Alabama, says that milk thistle works as a natural antidepressant and mood stabilizer.

Cleanses Liver

An overloaded, toxic liver cannot properly break down hormones and neurotransmitters. When this happens, you may feel sick, agitated and toxic. Milk thistle is a cleansing herb for the liver that assists with the breakdown of toxins. If you are taking prescribed medications, talk to your doctor before taking milk thistle. The herb may interfere with the therapeutic effects of the medication, because milk thistle may clear it out of the system too quickly.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Milk thistle helps the liver turn fat into a fuel. This function of the liver is especially important for women going through menopause. The liver may not adequately make use of fat for fuel during menopause because it is working harder to break down the abundance of hormones. Energy levels remain low, and the liver stores fat instead. Milk thistle prevents the storage of fat and uses fatty acids for fuel.

Improves Bile Production

Hormonal supplementation can slow down bile production. This can cause constipation and compromise liver health. Milk thistle can assist the liver with bile production and the breakdown of hormonal supplication, such as progesterone cream or hormone replacement therapy.

Side Effects

Because of its few side effects, milk thistle is an herb of choice for many menopausal women. An upset stomach appears in about 1 percent of users, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. As always, your doctor weighs the benefits and side effects of a remedy before prescribing or recommending a treatment. Milk thistle appears to have more benefits than side effects, but always check with your doctor before using milk thistle or any other herb.

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