You are a woman in your late 40’s or early 50’s, and you have started noticing changes in your menstrual cycle, your mood and your body. Your doctor or gynecologist confirms your suspicion – you are perimenopausal (transitioning into menopause). Or maybe you’re right in the midst of full-blown menopause already.
You are confronted with an overwhelming amount of information with regard to treatment options, most of which involve synthetic hormones, antidepressants, and even anti-seizure drugs.
Standard synthetic hormone replacement therapies (HRTs) are a popular option prescribed by medical professionals for helping women to deal with the symptoms of menopause. Since menopause sets in when the body stops producing estrogen, it seems obvious that reintroducing these will manage symptoms. Right?
It’s not that simple though.
For some women HRTs may not be effective, whilst for others, they can be downright risky. Studies going as far back as the 1970’s have shown that synthetic estrogen and progesterone can lead to cancers such as endometrial cancer and breast cancer – which is especially concerning for women who have a history of cancer in their family. In addition, the risk of heart attacks, strokes, thromboembolic events and even gallbladder diseases increases tremendously. The risks were deemed so high that the Women’s Health Initiative study was stopped due to the dangers that HRTs posed on test subjects.
Similarly, even so-called bioidentical hormone therapies (BHT) that are supposed to be “natural” are not without risk. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), compounded bioidentical hormones have not been tested in large, long-term clinical trials, and BHTs should be considered to carry the same risks as synthetic HRTs. And possibly even more.
On top of that, drugs such as low-dose antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, and high-blood pressure medications are increasingly prescribed for treating hot flashes. All of which carry their own severe side-effects and long-term health risks.
No wonder that women are increasingly turning to natural, more holistic therapies to treat their symptoms.
No supplement can fully replace the importance of regular physical activity and a healthy diet when it comes to a holistic, natural approach to dealing with the symptoms of menopause and promoting overall health and wellness.
But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t supplements that can bring effective relief. Here we’ve listed some herbal supplements that have proven to be helpful in managing symptoms of menopause.
CBD and other cannabinoids are showing great promise as effective therapeutic agents that can provide much needed and natural relief for easing symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood swings in menopausal women. Moreover, some studies actually show that CBD can mitigate some health risks associated with menopause, such as osteoporosis. To read more about how CBD works, read Is CBD A Natural Way To Help Ease The Symptoms Of Menopause?
Being one of the most studied traditional herbs for menopause, clinical studies have shown evidence that black cohosh is an effective hot flash remedy but without the estrogenic activity associated with HRTs and BHTs. This means that it may be a safe alternative – especially for women you have a personal or family history of breast cancer.
Containing the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), GLA has shown to regulate prostaglandin synthesis that help moderate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
Red clover is a rich source of the phytoestrogen isoflavone – even more so than soy products. Isoflavones bind to estrogen receptors helping to ease hot flashes and increase bone density.
Sage contains estrogenic compounds helping to regulate hormone levels, reduce hot flashes, and night sweats. It has even been shown to improve memory. All these benefits make sage an ideal herb for menopausal women to add to their natural therapy regime.
Some women find natural therapies to be more than adequate in relieving the symptoms of menopause. Others find that they have no option but to move forward with HRTs/BHTs. In the end, each woman is different, but regardless of which treatment route you choose, make sure you are making an informed decision that is right for you.