Are Herbal Treatments Effective for Postmenopausal Symptoms?

logo1267406_mdA new review published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist (TOG) concluded that herbal and complementary medicines  could be recommended as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  The review outlined the advantages and limitations of both approaches.  Menopause is associated with estrogen deficiency that can cause an increase in vasomotor symptoms (hot flashed), genitourinary symptoms (vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction, frequent urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence), and musculoskeletal symptoms (joint pain), and sleep and mood disturbances. Hot flashes is a common symptom that approximately two thirds of postmeniopausal women experience and 20% experience for up to 15 years. HRT is the most effective treatment for hot flashes and will improve symptoms for up to 90% of the women but has side effects such as ;links to breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, and cardiovascular problems.  The reviewer said as mqny as 50 to 75% of the postmenopausal women use herbal options , and of the complementary therapies, soy, red clover and black cohost have been the most investigated. Soy is the most common plant containing estrogen, found naturally in food and supplements  and research shows a reduction in hot flush symptoms ranging from 20 to 55%. Red clover also contains estrogen,  and black cohosh, a plant. both have been shown to reduce hot flush. The author recommended herbs because there are no significant adverse side effects as long as they are used by women who do not have a history of breast cancer, or are not at high risk for breast cancer, and are not taking tamoxifen. However, since herbs are not regulated in may countries the contents of a given product can vary from sample to sample.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.