Are there "natural" treatments available for menopause?

A Answers (3)

  • AMarjorie Nolan Cohn, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

    Eating plant-based foods that contain isoflavones (plant estrogens) work in the body like a weak form of estrogen. For this reason, soy may help relieve menopause symptoms, although research results are contradictory. Some may help lower cholesterol levels and have been suggested to relieve hot flashes and night sweats. Isoflavones can be found in foods such as tofu and soy milk.

  • Some women try herbal or other plant-based products to help relieve hot flashes. Some of the most common ones are:

    Soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances from a plant). But, there is no proof that soy — or other sources of phytoestrogens — really do make hot flashes better. And the risks of taking soy — mainly soy pills and powders — are not known. The best sources of soy are foods such as tofu, tempeh, soymilk, and soy nuts. Other sources of phytoestrogens. These include herbs such as black cohosh, wild yam, dong quai, and valerian root. Again, there is no proof that these herbs (or pills or creams containing these herbs) help with hot flashes.

    Products that come from plants may sound like they are safe, but there is no proof that they really are. There also is no proof that they are helpful at easing symptoms of menopause. Make sure to discuss these types of products with your doctor before taking them. You also should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, since some plant products can be harmful when combined with other drugs.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

  • AJacob Teitelbaum, Integrative Medicine, answered
    Use bioidentical hormone replacement with Biest 2.5 mg (2 mg estriol and 1/2 mg estradiol) and 30-50 mg of natural progesterone. This is combined in a cream and applied to the skin each evening.

    Or, if you prefer not to take the hormones, take one of the following:

    - Black Cohosh - Use Remifemin. This is a special form of Black Cohosh made by Enzymatic Therapy that is very effective for hot flashes. Take 2 twice a day for 2 months. By then it is usually taking effect and can be lowered to 1 twice a day.
    - Edamame - More commonly known as soybean pods, edamame can be found in the frozen food section of most supermarkets or health food stores. Eat a handful a day (just eat the "pea-like" beans on the inside, not the shell) and this can raise your estrogen naturally - and they're tasty! Edamame is a standard appetizer in Japanese restaurants, and is how many Japanese women have traditionally treated their menopause symptoms.

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