Menopause can be a difficult time. Hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings, tiredness, anxiety, irregular periods – they can all have a negative effect on the quality of your life and it may seem never-ending.
Systemic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is currently the most effective treatment for vasomotor symptoms and may also improve vaginal dryness, sleep, and quality of life, as well as conferring benefit to cardiovascular, bone and brain health.
When deciding to not use HRT, it should be noted that Herbal remedies, whilst helping some menopausal symptoms, do not provide these latter longer term health benefits.
For those wishing to avoid HRT, there are non-pharmacological and non-hormonal pharmacological treatments for vasomotor symptoms there are various non-hormonal menopause treatments that may help.
Medicinal plants can play an imperative role in the treatment of acute menopausal syndrome; however, further studies are required to buttress their efficacy in the treatment of acute menopausal syndrome.
Most non-hormonal treatments act quickly, so if there is no improvement after 2-4 weeks consider a different approach. Here, we take a look at some of the most effective natural remedies for the menopause. These have all been shown to reduce symptoms – especially when used as part of a holistic approach and combined with hormonal treatments, such as those available at 23MD. Why not give them a try?
Also, the majority of alternative therapies are evaluated in respect to vasomotor symptoms, and some will also have effect on mood. Placebo effect may be as great as 30-50% in many studies (and that in itself might be considered a treatment option).
Phytoestrogens are a naturally occurring compound which successfully reduce hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. These compounds can be found in a variety of foods and herbs – and, as a result, a few simple changes to your diet could make all the difference.
In general, soy high in diadzein is most effective. Diadzein is a compound that can be converted in the intestines to equol, a chemical that attaches to estrogen receptors to duplicate some of estrogen’s effects in the body. However, because only about 50% of Asian and 25% Caucasian women carry the intestinal bacteria necessary to produce equol from daidzein, equol supplements may be more effective than soy. There is early evidence that a 10-milligram S-equol supplement taken twice a day may control hot flashes with no harmful side effects. However, more studies are needed to better determine its effectiveness.
High levels of phytoestrogens are found in lentils, chickpeas and hummus, garlic, celery, linseeds, sunflower and sesame seeds, beansprouts, fennel, parsley and more. They can also be found in herbs such as red clover, black cohosh and sage. Sage tea, in particular, is an effective natural menopause treatment – but only when prepared in advance and taken cold.
2) Uterine Tonics
AGNUS CACTIS – The mechanism of action of the plant is most likely on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Although some studies have shown the effect of the plant in increasing the secretion of LH and the amount of progesterone, however, some other studies have reported that this plant has no effect on the LH and FSH. On the other hand, its effects on prolactin depends on the amount of the plant used. Sometimes, the taking of this herb may lead to nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion and anxiety.
BLACK COHOSH – Some studies show effectiveness of Black Cohosh in hot flush reduction although less so in breast cancer patients. Black Cohosh can be associated with major adverse effects such as constipation, arrhythmia, weight gain, abdominal cramps. Black Cohosh interferes with Tamoxifen activity and should be avoided by patients taking Tamoxifen so it is nor recommended for Breast cancer Survivors.
AT JOHNS WORT – NICE 2015 recommended that women with a history of, or at higher risk of, breast cancer should be advised that there is some evidence that St John’s Wort may have benefit for vasomotor symptoms but that because of uncertainty about appropriate doses, persistence of effect and potential for serious drug interactions that it should not be recommended. However, there are no proven studies of evaluating St John’s Wort in non-breast cancer patients and its effect on vasomotor symptoms may be due to its low dose anti-depressant activity.
DONG QUAI – is the most well-known: often referred to as ‘female ginseng’, it is most commonly used to treat gynaecological conditions and improve fertility. But it also has a long history as a non-hormonal menopause treatment, reducing the frequency and severity of hot flushes and sweats.
This uterine tonic herb can be taken in tablet form and is likely to work best when combined with other herbal remedies for the menopause and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
3) Adrenal Tonics
The adrenal glands are mainly responsible for producing stress hormones. But they’re also involved in the production of oestrone (a variant of oestrogen); therefore, when going through the menopause, it’s important to encourage good adrenal function.
Regular exercise is a great place to start. Try to practise stress management techniques (e.g. yoga, meditation, mindfulness) as much possible. Certain herbs have also been shown to help. For example, ginseng and borage are both effective tonics for the adrenal glands – reducing tiredness and feelings of stress – and are considered a good herbal remedy for the menopause.
GINKO BILOBA– has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its application in the treatment of attention disorders, memory impairment in postmenopausal women has been reiterated by several studies (28). Its side effects include mild gastrointestinal disorders, allergic reactions, headache, muscle spasms, heart palpitations, arrhythmia, dizziness, increased bleeding after surgery, lowering of seizure threshold
4) Liver Support
The liver plays an important role in hormone regulation – A good example is milk thistle, which is believed to boost the liver, regenerating cells and improving their overall function. Milk thistle is available in capsule form and can be found in most herbal apothecaries. Best of all, when used in tandem with other menopause treatments, it can help to alleviate many unwanted symptoms.Nervines
5) Anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia Support
If you are experiencing regular mood swings or feelings of anxiety and depression, cognitive behaviour therapy with targeted self-hypnosis, acupuncture and nerve block has been shown to help with these as well help with vasomotor symptom control.
herbal treaments, nervines can be an effective option. Nervines are a class of herbs that act as a tonic for the nervous system. There are many to choose from, but the most commonly used – as a natural menopause treatment – include hops, valerian, chamomile, skullcap and passiflora. Simply take them as a tablet (or in the form of herbal tea) – it may help you to feel more relaxed.
Get in touch with 23MD today
If you’re struggling to cope with menopausal symptoms, there’s no need to suffer in silence. There are plenty of options to choose from – including both non-hormonal menopause treatments and bioidentical hormone therapy, such as that offered by 23MD. We recommend using a combination of both to get the best results and can create a bespoke treatment plan that is tailored specifically to your needs.