Complementary Therapies for Menopausal Symptoms
Alternate Names : Homeopathic Remedies for Menopause
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when she stops having
menstrual periods permanently. It takes place around the age of 50 in most
women. At the time of menopause, many changes occur in the body. These changes
can cause symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Over the
years, the changes also raise a woman's risk of serious health problems. These
include: the bone-thinning disease called
The most common treatment for menopause is to make up for the body's
reduced production of estrogen. This is done by giving prescription medicines.
This approach is known as hormone
replacement therapy, or HRT. Complementary therapies for menopausal
symptoms are those that supplement or replace HRT. These may include plant
products and other alternative health treatments.
What is the information for this topic?
Eight of the most common natural alternative therapies are outlined below.
Before taking or using them, a woman should discuss options with her healthcare
provider. While these therapies may help with certain symptoms, there are no
long-term studies to show their effects on osteoporosis,
disease, or cholesterol levels in the body.
1. Natural hormone replacement therapy (NHRT) uses compounds similar to
hormones. These are found in soybeans and yams. The molecular structure of
these compounds is modified to exactly match human hormones. The effects of
these specially prepared therapies are not definitely known. They have not been
shown in research studies to have the same beneficial effects as prescription
Phytoestrogens are compounds that occur naturally in some plants,
herbs, and seeds. Some of these compounds have properties like those of
estrogen. Flaxseeds and soybeans contain phytoestrogens. They may be useful for
some women in reducing hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal
dryness. Further studies are needed to show if they really work to
reduce these symptoms and what the ideal dose may be. Phytoestrogens may help
improve cholesterol levels. However, they should not be used in place of
medicines prescribed to treat high cholesterol. It is not known how
phytoestrogens affect a woman's risk of osteoporosis.
Herbal remedies are plants used for medicinal purposes. They are
available over the counter without a prescription. Some may help reduce mild
menopause symptoms. Some of these remedies may interact with other medicines
and other complementary therapies. Herbs may also affect other health problems
that a woman has. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not
currently approve herbal remedies. Their quality and potency vary widely. Some
of the common herbs that may be helpful for some women include:
black cohosh, also sold as Remifemin. The standardized product available in
Germany appears to be helpful in reducing hot flashes, night sweats,
headache, and vaginal
dryness. Its effect on osteoporosis, cholesterol, and heart disease
risk is not known.
chasteberry, which may help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, and
ginseng with 4% ginsenosides, which may reduce fatigue and
improve energy level. Ginseng may interact with other drugs, such as warfarin,
a blood thinner. Women with high blood pressure should avoid ginseng.
valerian, which may help some women with anxiety, tension, or trouble
sleeping. It is best to take valerian for only a short period of time. It may
interact in dangerous ways with other medicines, such as those used for
Acupressure can help ease menopausal symptoms. There are four
specific pressure points that are used.
Biofeedback uses machines to help teach control of certain body
functions. It may be useful for some women dealing with urinary
incontinence, or involuntary urine loss.
6. Vaginal lubricants ease vaginal dryness. Water-based products are
best. Products that contain alcohol or perfume may cause irritation in some
women. Oil-based products, such as Vaseline, can also cause irritation.
7. Progesterone cream applied to the skin may counteract the negative effects
of estrogen on breast tissue and uterine lining. The FDA does not regulate
these products. That means they are not regulated and may or may not contain
progesterone. Further study is needed to verify whether these products are
8. Regular exercise has many benefits. Weight-bearing exercises, such as
walking, can help slow bone loss from osteoporosis. Aerobic exercise,
including biking or swimming, can lower the risk of heart disease. Activities
such as these also improve a woman's overall sense of well-being.