Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms — Solutions or Snake Oil?

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News Picture: Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms — Solutions or Snake Oil?

FRIDAY, Feb. 18, 2022 (HealthDay Information)

Ladies battling the change of life usually head to the supplements part of their pharmacy to cope with menopause symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness.

However specialists say they’d be higher off going to their physician and asking for clinically confirmed therapies slightly than counting on an natural treatment.

There’s scant medical proof that supplements like black cohosh, soy isoflavone, Swedish pollen, magnolia bark and melatonin present efficient reduction for menopause signs, mentioned Dr. Jennifer Howell, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Duke Well being in Durham, N.C.

“The components in most supplements have been studied and haven’t been proven to be higher than placebo over time,” Howell mentioned. “Most of them are fairly protected. You’re effective to attempt them. However it’s laborious for me to endorse them.”

The complement most generally touted as a menopause treatment — black cohosh — has been proven in two high-quality clinical trials to be no higher than placebo, in response to the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being’s (NIH) Workplace of Dietary Supplements.

Worse, in uncommon situations, black cohosh may cause liver harm.

“Some specialists actively discourage it as a result of there isn’t any proof that black cohosh works, and a few sufferers will expertise some liver irritation from it,” Howell mentioned.

Soy isoflavones — primarily, plant-based estrogens — have had some blended ends in treating menopause signs, the NIH says. Howell cautions girls who’ve an elevated threat of cancer to speak with their physician earlier than attempting soy isoflavones, since estrogen can gasoline some tumors.

An extract derived from the roots of rhapontic, or false rhubarb, is utilized in some proprietary natural supplements for menopause. One small-scale clinical trial in Germany has proven some profit for the extract in comparison with placebo, however no follow-up analysis has taken place.

One of many issues with these and different dietary supplements is that they don’t seem to be regulated by the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, Howell mentioned.

“They will make claims they usually do not must be supported by vigorous scientific knowledge as a pharmaceutical would,” she mentioned.

Consultants additionally warn that there is little to no proof for one more “natural” product more and more utilized by menopausal girls — marijuana.

Hashish and wine are two treatments that girls have turned to for many years when coping with menopause, mentioned Dr. Suzanne Fenske, an assistant medical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science on the Icahn Faculty of Medication at Mount Sinai, in New York Metropolis.

Marijuana legalization has led extra girls to attempt pot for menopause reduction. A study introduced on the 2020 assembly of the North American Menopause Society discovered that greater than one-quarter of feminine U.S. veterans had used marijuana to deal with their menopause, and one other 10% deliberate to present it a attempt.

“Persons are nonetheless turning to wine and hashish, and now we’re lastly sort of evaluating it,” Fenske mentioned.

However most analysis into marijuana and ladies’s well being has to this point centered on pot use throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, in response to a 2021 proof evaluation within the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.


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“Though some customers might discover hashish to be useful for ameliorating indicators and signs generally related to menopause… (e.g., insomnia, irritability, joint pain, depression), there are few knowledge on the efficacy and security of hashish use on this context,” the evaluation concluded.

Howell mentioned her issues about the usage of marijuana to alleviate menopause symptoms spring partially from her data of the historical past of therapy throughout the change of life. For many years, girls had been identified as neurotic and loaded up on tranquilizers in the event that they had been battling the transition.

“We have already been there and completed that with addictive medicines given to girls for menopause,” Howell mentioned. “I do not personally have a whole lot of curiosity in it. Ladies had been prescribed barbiturates and extremely addictive sedatives and sleeping tablets for menopause up to now, which is actually tough and harmful to cease.”

Ladies who attempt dietary supplements most likely could be higher off speaking to their physician about hormone replacement therapy, Fenske and Howell mentioned.

Hormone replacement therapy delivers menopause symptom reduction that is extra important than what’s seen with dietary supplements, Fenske mentioned.

On high of that, “if hormone substitute remedy is initiated inside 10 years of menopause, there are literally some advantages” to total well being, Fenske mentioned. She famous that girls who obtain hormone therapy have a decreased threat of heart disease, colon cancer and osteoporosis.

Hormone therapy was extensively used beginning within the Sixties, and even touted as “like being female without end,” till the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative examine raised issues that the therapy may improve threat of breast cancer, Fenske mentioned.

Newer research and re-analysis of older research even have proven that wholesome girls who take hormone substitute remedy for a short while round their transition even have a decrease threat of untimely demise from all causes, Howell mentioned. The remedy normally is restricted to a few to 5 years.

“I believe it ought to be first-line for sufferers who’re symptomatic across the time of menopause,” Howell mentioned. “It should not be, ‘Attempt all the pieces else after which we’ll allow you to use this.'”

A number of different drugs have been proven to alleviate particular signs like hot flashes or sleeplessness, together with antidepressants and seizure drugs, Howell mentioned.

One other approach girls will help ease their signs is by altering up their consuming habits, Fenske mentioned.

“We all know that nutrition is definitely essential,” she mentioned. “You may have exacerbation of hot flashes and night sweats by what we put in our physique.”

For instance, a whole lot of carbohydrates in your diet can worsen hot flashes, as can ingesting alcohol too near bedtime, Fenske mentioned.

Extra info

The Workplace on Women’s Health has extra about menopause symptoms and relief.

SOURCES: Jennifer Howell, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist, Duke Well being, Durham, N.C.; Suzanne Fenske, MD, assistant medical professor, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science, Icahn Faculty of Medication at Mount Sinai, New York Metropolis

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