Menopause is a naturally occurring phenomenon in women in which your menstrual periods decrease in frequency before ceasing entirely. According to the North American Menopause Society, menopause usually occurs in your early 50s and is associated with decreased ovarian function and lower levels of estrogen and other hormones circulating throughout your body. Certain dietary supplements may help treat your menopausal symptoms. However, it is always wise to review the use of supplements with your doctor before using them.
Menopause Background Info
Menopause often causes numerous symptoms, although some women experiencing menopause may develop few or no symptoms at all. Among the most commonly experienced menopausal symptoms are changes in your periods, night sweats, hot flashes, sleeping difficulties, vaginal dryness, painful sex, concentration problems, mood swings, scalp hair loss and increased body hair. Certain conditions -- cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, urinary incontinence -- may be more likely to develop after menopause.
Effective Dietary Supplements
Numerous dietary supplements may be effective in treating your menopausal symptoms, although a larger body of scientific research evidence may be required to determine these supplements' true effectiveness. According to Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, naturopathic doctors and co-authors of "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine," some of the most effective dietary supplements for this health purpose may include vitamin E, hesperidin, vitamin C, gamma-oryzanol, dong quai, licorice, chasteberry, black cohosh and ginkgo.
A Frequently Used Supplement
Chasteberry may be a frequently used dietary supplement in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. In his book "Therapeutic Herb Manual," expert herbalist Ed Smith reports that chasteberry has long been used in treating menopausal depression. This supplement may also be helpful in treating hot flashes associated with menopause. Other conditions that may respond to chasteberry include menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome, endometriosis, breast pain and amenorrhea. Chasteberry is considered a female reproductive tract regulator.
Menopausal symptoms may best be treated using a combination of therapies, including complementary alternative and conventional allopathic treatment measures. The use of dietary supplements in treating menopausal symptoms, though often helpful, does not guarantee a positive health result. In some cases, dietary supplements may provoke unwanted health effects in your body, especially if they are not used according to your physician's instructions. Ask your doctor if dietary supplements are right for you and your condition.
- North American Menopause Society: Confirming Menopause
- Medline Medical Encyclopedia: Menopause
- "Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine"; Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D.; 1998
- "Therapeutic Herb Manual"; Ed Smith; 2007