Proven Natural Medicine

Menopause

After the failure of the menopause HRT trials, there are more and more natural remedies being trialled to treat the symptoms of menopause. See our Calgary Naturopath page

But as of date, these trials are still underway. I can however, report on a few remedies and lifestyle factors that have been looked at extensively.
Lifestyle has been proven to be the first and best step in managing hot flushes, night sweats, headaches and depression.
Women are twice as likely to experience symptoms when they are overweight. If you are overweight , it makes sense to adopt a healthy eating pattern and do some moderate exercise, this has been shown to decrease the severity of symptoms.

GIVE UP SMOKING. I know you’ve heard it before but now I am telling you that there is evidence of an increase in the severity and frequency of hot flushes. Get real, and give your body the best chance to fix itself.
Bio-Identical Hormones
These creams have been studied but not extensively for menopause. At the time of writing this report, there are atleast two studies that I know of, being researched using bio-identical hormones and placebo.
Published completed trials to date have not been favourable for the use of bio-identical hormones.
Wild Yam Cream
As I have stated before, Wild Yam cream can be converted to progesterone in a laboratory but not when you rub it on the skin.
No trials have been in favour of this remedy for treating hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. The study below stated there were no changes to hormone levels, hot flushes, weight or sweating when tested with Wild Yam Cream for 3 months.

Komesaroff PA, Black CV, Cable V, et al. Effects of wild yam extract on menopausal symptoms, lipids and sex hormones in healthy menopausal women. Climacteric 2001;4:144-50.A Word Of Warning
If you have had breast cancer or have a history of breast cancer in the family, it is advised to avoid all oestrogenic substances, supplements of foods in high amounts. Breast cancer is an oestrogen sensitive cancer.
You must consult your Health Practitioner before trying any menopausal remedies.Hypnosis
A study involving 60 women that experienced hot flushes after breast cancer treatment showed that hypnosis can reduce the number of hot flushes. Although studies are small and sparse concerning hypnosis, the beneficial results should encourage more research.

The women recieving hypnosis had a reduction of 68% of hot flushes. The hypnosis also produced significant improvements in other areas such as depression, sleep, anxiety and everyday activities.Elkins G, Marcus J, Stearns V et al. Randomized trial of a hypnosis intervention for treatment of hot flashes among breast cancer survivors. Journal of Clinical Oncology. Published online September 22, 2008.Soy
Soy has been extensively researched. Some trials have been positive but some have advised more research is needed.
However, it has been shown to be effective for hot flushes related to menopause.

Crisafulli A,Marini H, et al. Effects of genistein on hot flushes in early postmenopausal women: a randomized double-blind EPT-and placebo-controlled study. Menopause 2004;11:400-4Red Clover
A study done on red clover (Promensil) showed that there was a significant reduction of 44% of hot flushes when a dose of 80mg a day is used. This is a great reduction in hot flushes and
Promensil Menopause Formula 30 tablets: K
should be considered if you are looking for a proven alternative.

van de Weijer P, Barentsen R. Isoflavones from red clover (Promensil) significantly reduce menopausal hot flush symptoms compared with placebo. Maturitas 2002;42:187-93.Flaxseed
Flaxseed has shown to be effective for mild hot flushes. It is also good for a number of other conditions, so it could be a good one to use.

Lemay A, Dodin S, Kadri N, et al. Flaxseed dietary supplement versus hormone replacement therapy in hypercholesterolemic menopausal women. Obstet Gynecol 2002;100:495-504.Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh in a product named Remifemin has shown beneficial results in treating menopausal symptoms.
Studies have shown that this product significantly reduces hot flushes. The study also concluded that Black Cohosh for menopausal symptoms is just as effective as oestradiol found in presription HRT.
Remifemin, 120 tabs: W
is the #1 Ob/Gyn non-prescription treatment prescribed. It is also the brand that showed such promising results with hot flushes in the clinical trials.Nappi RE, Malavasi B, Brundu B, Facchinetti F. Efficacy of Cimicifuga racemosa on climacteric complaints: a randomized study versus low-dose transdermal estradiol. Gynecol Endocrinol 2005;20:30-5.Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)
Hot flushes according to trials are not helped by this herb and it is believed that Dong Quai may have some carcinogenic constituents.

Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, et al. Does dong quai have estrogenic effects in postmenopausal women? A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Fertil Steril 1997;68:981-6.Vitex Agnus Castus
This herb is useful in premenopausal symptoms but not in menopausal symptoms.

em>Liu J, Burdette JE, Xu H, et al. Evaluation of estrogenic activity of plant extracts for the potential treatment of menopausal symptoms. J Agric Food Chem 2001;49:2472-9.Panax ginseng
Ginseng has shown to help with symptoms of fatigue, insomnia and depression but not hot flushes.

Tode T, Kikuchi Y, Hirata J, et al. Effect of Korean red ginseng on psychological functions in patients with severe climacteric syndromes. Int J Gynaecol Obstet 1999;67:169-74.Evening Primrose Oil
EPO has no effect on hot flushes associated with menopause.
Testosterone Patch
The Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin have concluded that the testosterone patch known as Intrinsa does not help improve libido in women that have had their womb and ovaries removed and are suffering the effects of early menopause.
The condition known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder or HSDD for short, is common with women receiving oestrogen replacement after a full hysterectomy.
This study did not produce beneficial results with libido and demonstrated numerous unwanted side-effects including acne, excess hair (hirsutism), hair loss (alopecia), breast pain, weight gain, insomnia, voice deepening, and migraine.

BMJ-British Medical Journal (2009, March 11). Thumbs Down For New Testosterone Patch To Boost Women’s Sex Drive. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2009/03/090302213824.htm
Well, I think in light of the information I have given you, you will have to decide for yourself what you are happy using for your menopausal symptoms.