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Are Alternative or Natural Treatments for Menopause Worth it?

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Not everyone can take estrogen and/or progesterone for menopausal symptoms. There may be physical or medical reasons why this may be so. For instance, a cancer patient would not be a candidate for estrogen therapy at all. But on the other hand, sometimes women prefer alternative treatments for peace of mind.

The latter group knows that prescription hormones can only be taken by women of a certain age and for only so long, therefore, they reason instead of fretting about these stipulations, they would just prefer to deal with the “natural” or alternative approach to treating symptoms.

What are some of these options? To relieve hot flashes, a number of persons have claimed to have found success with the following:

Some women use soy products like tofu, tempeh, soymilk or soy nuts. Soy contains phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens mimic the estrogen your body makes. Of course, there’s no conclusive evidence that this option works and what risks, if any, are not known at this time.

Another alternative that many use for hot flashes is vitamin E. It is important to remember that too much vitamin E (greater than 400 IU) is not safe as certain research data has connected heart disease with excessive amounts of this vitamin. And even though some women claimed that vitamin E has helped them, there is no scientific proof for this claim.

Others have tried the herbal preparation called black cohosh for hot flashes. There are only very few studies done regarding the safety and benefits of this option. All the same, the North American Menopause Society has recommended the short-term use of this herb for treating menopause. The North American Menopause Society did, however, recommend using black cohosh only up to six months at a time.

Interestingly, there was one large study call the Herbal Alternatives for Menopause Trial done to test the effectiveness of various kinds of herbal and alternative treatments. These were contrasted with not only estrogen but a placebo as well. The results revealed that these preparations, which included black cohosh, were no better than the placebo.

Before using any “natural,” herbal or any alternative products for menopause, always remember to discuss this subject with your physician. Precautions are very important because in some instances, natural or herbal products can clash with certain prescribed medications.


Menopause. Medicine.Net.com. Web. 28 August 2011.

Menopause and Menopause Treatments Fact Sheet. Womenshealth.gov. Web. 28 August 2011.

Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer and blogger. Check out her blog for women at: http://redtoenails.wordpress.com/

Reviewed August 31, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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