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For women, saw palmetto supplements may be able to provide cosmetic improvements, helping to clear up acne, enhance breast size, and trigger the regrowth of thinning hair. Despite the many suspected benefits of saw palmetto for women, research for the herb has mostly centered around the plant's ability to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition in men where the prostate gland is enlarged and urination may be difficult. Saw palmetto is thought to work on BPH by lowering levels of testosterone, a male hormone. Saw palmetto herbal supplements for women are believed to work in the same manner.
Saw palmetto for women is often marketed as having estrogenic activity, making it useful for treating issues related to the ovaries, the major female sex organs. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, and utilizing saw palmetto for breast enhancement is thought to increase estrogen secretion levels to naturally plump up the breast. Regular consumption of saw palmetto extract is also used by some women in order to stimulate production of breast milk, thereby ensuring enough breast milk is available for a suckling infant. For women dealing with painful menstruation, the herb has also achieved a reputation for being able to ease cramps and help regulate the menstrual cycle.
An additional benefit of saw palmetto for women is the supplement's use as an herbal remedy. Hormonal acne is a skin condition that many women struggle with as a result of fluctuating hormone levels, which can trigger break-outs on the skin. Since saw palmetto may be able to stabilize and lower testosterone levels, it could be useful for restoring clear healthy looking skin.
One of the more documented uses of saw palmetto for women is the treatment of hirsutism, a condition in which women have excessive hair growth. Many of these women also have high levels of androgens, male sex hormones. The hair growth tends to follow the same patterns on the body as typical male hair growth, such as the upper lip, breasts, and the back. A standardized extract of saw palmetto taken daily may be beneficial for providing anti-androgenic effects and treating the condition. Moreover, taking saw palmetto for hair growth is possibility beneficial for treating thinning hair on the head.
Additional benefits attributed to saw palmetto for women include the treatment of pelvic inflammatory conditions and its use as a diuretic to treat fluid retention problems. Some women also turn to saw palmetto to aid in treating viruses and irritations of the air passageways such as colds and chronic bronchitis. The wide range of uses is due to the fact that saw palmetto appears to be well tolerated in most women. Although side effects are possible, they are considered somewhat rare. Possible side effects that could occur, however, include mild headaches, dizziness, and constipation.
The use of saw palmetto supplements with other herbs or prescription medications, however, could result in more serious side effects. For instance, use with birth control pills or estrogen replacement products may affect the potency of these drugs. Pregnant women are normally cautioned not to take the herb, as it could affect hormone activity and negatively affect the growing fetus. In lactating women, saw palmetto is also generally not recommended since some preparations can contain alcohol.
To ensure safety when taking saw palmetto for women, a consultation with a health care provider may be necessary before taking the herb in any form and for any reason. It is also important to note that although saw palmetto has a number of popular uses, the majority of claims about the herb have yet to be backed up by legitimate scientific study.
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