Alternative ways to relieve the symptoms of the menopause
While it might seem that holistic ways to relieve menopausal symptoms are dabbling in the world of alternative medicine, there is a lot of clinical data to support the use of some complementary therapies.
In fact, when we look at what a woman wants from her treatment, it may be that complementary therapies offer a viable alternative to HRT should she be unable or choose not to take it.
It is important to add that no matter which route of treatment you choose, you should do so under medical guidance and as a result of a personalised plan. What may work for your friend, may not be suited for you.
We recommend that all women seeking relief from their menopause symptoms undergo a health screening, keep a symptom diary, and see their consultant so that they have a thorough understanding of your medical history.
Herbal remedies have been used for a long time to treat the symptoms of the menopause. While there are many options available, not all have been tested or are proven to work. However, some herbal remedies do have a significant amount of data behind their effectiveness.
In Europe, you can recognise the herbal remedies which are licensed by the THR logo on the packaging. If you are unsure, you should ask a qualified professional for advice.
Black cohosh has been known to reduce hot flushes and night sweats. It is not as effective as HRT but is thought to have a slight estrogen action. For this reason, you need to take care if you have had or are at risk of breast cancer.
Also known as chaste berry, the fruits from the Agnus Castus plant are licensed for use in the relief of some pre-menstrual symptoms. There is some data that it may also help to reduce mood swings that can occur during the peri-menopause.
St John’s Wort
For many years, St John’s Wort has used to relieve feelings of anxiety and depression which is why it is a useful remedy for mood swing symptoms that can happen during the menopause.
It may be possible to combine using St John’s Wort with Black Cohosh to relieve symptoms but you should speak to your doctor beforehand.
Likewise, if you are taking any medication, it is important you let your consultant know before taking St John’s Wort. The herb may interact with your current and decrease its effectiveness.
Soya, redclover, beans, and pulses
Foods that are rich in isoflavones are understood to help menopausal symptoms. Where diets contain plenty of soya, pulses, beans, and lentils, there have been fewer short-term menopausal symptoms than diets without these foods.
Redclover is classified as a herbal medicine, but is also a rich source of isoflavones.
Over the years there has been a number of studies into the effectiveness of an isoflavone rich diet on the menopause and it has shown to reduce night sweats and hot flushes. Although diet alone is not as effective as HRT.