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Hormonal Imbalance in Women: Birth Control Pills vs. Herbal Remedies


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If you go to the doctor because you’re a woman and you’re having hormone issues or menstrual problems, chances are your doctor will prescribe birth control pills if you aren’t already taking them. Most women these days take the pill or use some form of birth control product that uses synthetic hormones. For sexually active women, unless you have perfectly timed periods, with perfect “flow”, and you’re using a diaphragm or condoms, it can be hard to escape from synthetic hormones.

 

But are synthetic hormone treatments really safe?

 

There are a number of studies demonstrating that synthetic hormones are not very safe. Women who have used synthetic hormones to help them weather the symptoms of menopause have a higher risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, the increased risks associated with the use of synthetic hormones by menopausal women was so high that the Women’s Health Initiative closed down a synthetic hormone study before it was slated to end [1][2][3]. Bioidentical hormones aren’t necessarily a better choice, even though they’re purportedly identical to the hormones found in the female body [3].

 

Effects of Birth Control

 

Many women take birth control pills as a form of contraception. If this is your situation, you’ll need to find another form of contraception if you decide to use herbs to control your hormone levels. Herbal remedies won’t help you prevent pregnancy.

 

On the other hand, if you’ve been prescribed birth control pills to control aspects of your monthly period that are undesirable, you might want to try using herbs to control the symptoms first. Herbs are generally safer (at least the ones I recommend below) and they won’t interfere with your ability to become pregnant later…in fact, they may even help with problems like infertility. My doctor prescribed birth control pills when I showed up at her office because I’d been getting my period every two weeks. I wanted to have her check me out first to make sure I didn’t have cancer, or fibroids, or some other problem. I didn’t. I got my prescription filled since I was going to be leaving soon on a three month trip to Egypt and I didn’t want to be without a solution to my problem while I was abroad. But before I took the pills, I decided I’d try some herbal remedies for my problem first. I wasn’t excited about taking the pill because when I was in college the pill caused me to gain about 20 pounds and in my opinion, the synthetic hormones in birth control pills are just as dangerous for women as the synthetic hormones used in hormone replacement therapy for menopausal women.

 

Below are herbal remedies that I’ve used with success to treat hormonal imbalances that have caused me to have menstrual woes:

 

For Bi-weekly Periods

 

For me, bi-weekly periods started happening after I was infected with parasites, did a cleanse, and gained some weight after taking a month off from my usual routine of jogging 25 to 40 miles a week. I started exercising more regularly and lost some weight and began taking the following herbs every day to regulate my periods:

 

Vitex Berry – This herb is also known as chaste berry. It can help regulate periods that are missed or periods that are coming too frequently. No one really knows exactly how the herb works, but it helps a woman’s body produce the correct amount of her own progesterone by working directly on the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland [4]. I take two 400 mg capsules a day to keep my periods regular.

 

Maca – Maca is a staple food in the diet of Andeans. It helps promote healthy sexual functioning by balancing hormones in both men and women and it can also help reduce the symptoms of menopause like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disruptions, and depression. Maca promotes fertility and it can also give women a boost of energy [5] I take two 750 mg capsules daily.

 

For Missed Periods

 

As a 41 year-old-woman, I’ve also had problems with missing periods for several months in a row. Below is the herbal remedy that I use to bring my periods back when they go MIA.

 

Vitex Berry –I take Vitex Berry (aka chasteberry) for missed periods as well as periods that are too frequent. It has a regulatory effect on the body and it can help in either case. Be prepared to take this herb for two to three months if you’ve started skipping periods. Take two 400 mg capsules every day.

 

Maca – I take Maca Root for both missed periods and periods that are too frequent because it also helps in both instances. Maca is an herb that encourages the body to self-regulate. I take 2 750 mg capsules a day.

 

Evening Primrose Oil – Evening Primrose Oil contains Omega-6 Fatty Acids which help the body produce hormones. Evening primrose is the most effective herb that I’ve taken to bring back missed periods. I take one 1300 mg capsule daily [6].

 

Cod Liver Oil – I also take 1 tablespoon of Cod Liver Oil per day to give my body all the tools it needs to build hormones and keep my body balanced [6].

 

Black Cohosh Root – This herb works well for bringing on periods that have gone missing, but it shouldn’t be used over the long-term. Use it sparingly, usually for less than 6 months at a time for best results.

 

 

References:

 

[1] Women’s Health Initiative (n.d.). Hormone Therapy Trials. Available online: https://www.whi.org/about/SitePages/HT.aspx January 23, 2017.

[2] Cancer.gov (n.d.). Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk. Available online: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/hormones/oral-contraceptives-fact-sheet January 23, 2017.

[3] Harvard University (2010-2017). Bioidential Hormones: Help or Hype? Available online: http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/bioidentical-hormones-help-or-hype January 23, 2017.

[4] DrAxe.com (2017). Vitex or Chasteberry, the Female-Friendly Fruit for PMS and More. Available online: https://draxe.com/vitex/ January 23, 2017.

[5] Group, E. (2010). 7 Benefits of Maca Root for Women. Available online: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/7-benefits-of-maca-root-for-women/ January 23, 2017.

[6] DrAxe.com (2017). Available online: https://draxe.com/evening-primrose-oil/ January 23, 2017.

[7] Barton-Schuster, D. (2007-2015). Black Cohosh Benefits the Menstrual Cycle, Pain, and Uterine Health. Available online: http://natural-fertility-info.com/menstrual-pain-relief-with-black-cohosh-other-fertility-benefits-of-this-herb.html January 23, 2017.

 

 

 

 





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