Because of concern about
hormone replacement therapy (HRT) health risks, many
women have turned to alternative medicine for menopause symptom relief. As part
of a stepwise treatment approach, you can consider using one or more of the
following options for preventing or treating symptoms before trying
prescription medicines or hormones.
Black cohosh (such as Remifemin) may prevent or relieve menopause symptoms. But the research on black
cohosh has had mixed results. Some studies have shown that black cohosh can
relieve hot flashes.19 But other studies have shown
that black cohosh does not relieve hot flashes.20 Also,
the long-term safety is not yet known. (Risks similar to estrogen risks are a
possibility.) Have regular checkups if you are using black cohosh, and make
sure your doctor knows what you are taking.
Soy phytoestrogens (isoflavones) are in more complete form when you eat them as food,
rather than in a pill or powder. A high-soy diet has been linked to stronger
bones, especially in the first 10 years after menopause, when estrogen levels
drop and rapid bone loss happens.1 Regularly eating
and drinking soy may also help even out menopause symptoms. But studies have
shown mixed results. They have not always shown that soy is effective for
treating hot flashes.21
Yoga (which often includes meditative breathing)
biofeedback give you tools you can use to reduce
stress. High stress is likely to make your symptoms worse.
Alternative treatments to avoid
Based on the
latest research, some therapies are not recommended for menopause symptoms,
either because they are not effective or because they can cause dangerous
effects. These include:
It’s a question many women wonder about, especially if you’re thinking about planning a family and your 20s are but a distant memory.
How many more years of fertility might you have, and how much longer will it be before you start experiencing “the change?”
Here's what does -- and does not influence the age at when a woman reaches menopause.
These types of
medicinals are not required to have the same testing or purity standards as
prescription and other nonprescription medicines. The amount of a drug in
herbal preparations varies widely. It is also possible for unregulated
products to be contaminated with metals or other dangerous substances. Before
trying any treatment, look for scientific studies that support its beneficial
claims as well as information on risks. When buying herbs or supplements:
Find a reputable brand or supplier.
Look for the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP)-verified mark on product
labels. This is one way of finding a product that has been tested for safety
and quality. For more information, see
If you are using an alternative medicine or herbal
remedy, make sure your doctor knows. Tell him or her the type and amount you
are taking, how long you have been taking it, and why.