There are many stages in a woman’s hormonal life, all leading up to menopause and although it is thought of as a deficiency disease by some, menopause is a normal transition in every woman’s life. This natural life cycle may mark the end of childbearing years, but it marks the beginning of self-discovery. During this time the ovaries no longer release eggs and hormone levels begin to rise and fall erratically. This fluctuation not only affects the ovaries, but may also cause changes to occur in metabolism and growth. Some of the symptoms may include hot flashes, changes in the urinary tract, vaginal changes, psychological changes and decreased libido. Even though menopause is a naturally occurring event in every woman’s life, some need a little extra help to get through it. Two issues for menopausal women are the need to manage symptoms safely and the need to reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases. Simple changes in lifestyle, such as avoiding alcohol, spicy food and caffeine, can help combat the symptoms of menopause. There have also been many studies evaluating the affects of herbal medicine on menopause. One study found that black cohosh, an herb used by Native Americans to ease the pain of menstrual cramping and other gynecological ailments, was shown to improve various symptoms of menopause including insomnia, hot flashes, as well as irritability, nervousness, depression, and vaginal dryness. For more information on women’s health, please contact Dr. Chambers at 985.951.0110.