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Menopause and Alternative Therapy

(continued)

Are Botanicals Safe to Take During Menopause?

While safe when taken in moderate amounts through diet, there remains some questions about the safety of consuming extraordinary amounts of soy and isoflavone supplements in women with a history of estrogen-dependent cancer, like breast cancer. Clinical trials are underway to answer these questions.

Because little is known about many botanicals, the best way to evaluate their safety and effectiveness is to become an educated consumer. 

Ask yourself the following questions about alternative therapies:

  • What is the treatment?
  • What does it involve?
  • How does it work?
  • Why does it work?
  • Are there any risks?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is it effective? (Ask for evidence or proof)
  • How much does it cost?

Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment. Your doctor can also provide you with information on other people who may have tried the same therapy.

What Are Warning Signs That a Product May Not Be Legitimate?

When trying to determine whether or not a product is what it says it is, one of the elements you may want to look at is how the product is promoted. Be cautious of products promoted through:

  • Telemarketers
  • Direct mailings
  • Infomercials
  • Ads disguised as valid news articles
  • Ads in the back of magazines

Additional red flags to look for include:

  • Big Claims. If products claim to be a "cure" for your condition, or the manufacturer makes too-good-to-be-true claims, be cautious.
  • Source. Be wary if the product is only offered through one manufacturer.
  • Ingredients. Make sure all of the active ingredients are listed, and don't trust "secret formulas."
  • Testimonials. Product testimonials may come from people who are paid for their endorsement. Also, be cautious of testimonials given by people who are only listed by initials, locations, or first names.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 29, 2012
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