There are a number of treatments available to treat or ease the symptoms of menopause. Some of these are natural, while others include the use of synthetic hormones. Below we take a look at some of these common treatments, and the benefits/disadvantages of each.
HRT – Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT is a menopause treatment most commonly used to treat women suffering from severe symptoms. This is a treatment that must be prescribed by a doctor, and should not be decided on without serious thought. The treatment works by replacing the Oestrogen and Progesterone that the body is no longer able to produce. These hormones are taken in any of the four ways below:
- Tablets taken by mouth
- Skin patches
- Vaginal creams or pessaries
- Implants under the skin.
(note: not all of these ways are suitable for some women)
Before being prescribed HRT it is important for a doctor to do a full medical exam, and to review any medical history. HRT may not be suitable for women who have a history of any of the following:
- Breast cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- High blood pressure
- Previous blood clots
- Liver disease such as hepatitis
- Uterine fibroids
- Previous heart attack.
Advantages and Disadvantages
When assessing HRT it is important to assess the benefits and risks so as to decide if one outweighs the other. Common benefits of HRT are:
- Relief from menopausal symptoms
- Reduced incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures
- Reduced risk of bowel cancer
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease (research into this is continuing)
- Increased risk of breast cancer (8 extra cases per 10,000 population per year)
- Increased risk of heart attack (7 extra per 10,000 per year)
- Increased risk of blood clots, which can dislodge and travel to the lungs (causing pulmonary embolism) or brain (causing stroke)
- Increased risk of ovarian cancer (with oestrogen-only therapy)
- A slightly increased risk of gallstones
- A slightly increased risk of endometrial cancer.
As you can see, there are some pretty serious risks associated with HRT, some women feel that this is the only option due to severe symptoms.
Remifemin has for a long time been hailed as a natural alternative to HRT. This is because of the high potency, standardised extract of Black Cohosh in every tablet. The great advantage of Remifemin is that is contains no hormones, or hormone mimicking chemicals and therefore has none of the nasty side effects listed above associated with it.
Clinical research has shown that Remifemin is highly effective at treating the common menopausal symptoms such as:
There have also been countless conclusive studies have shown Remifemin to be safe, even for women with breast cancer. For more info on some of the studies and research check the studies/articles page.
Soy has been the subject of several clinical trials in the past few decades. It has been trialed for its use as a menopause treatment as well as many other uses. However, in 30 clinical trials with soy and soy products, none of them showed to have any effect above a placebo level.
Red Clover is another common ingredient in natural Menopause support products. It is also used as an ingredient in many other medicines for treating many other ailments such as high cholesterol and asthma. Unfortunately there is no evidence that Red Clover has any effect on menopausal symptoms, or any other symptoms that it is recommended for. There is not enough scientific evidence to make any conclusive claims about Red Clover, and because of this there is also very little information on the safety of this ingredient.
Wild Yam Cream is rubbed into the skin to stop menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Unfortunate there is no evidence to support the idea that this will treat menopausal symptoms.
Wild Yams do contain high levels of diosgenin, a chemical used in laboratories to synthesise Oestrogen. However, the act of rubbing this cream into your skin has no effect, as the body does not contain the enzymes needed to convert the cream into Oestrogen. The complex process of diosgenin to Oestrogen can only be performed in a laboratory with highly specialised equipment, and could never be performed by the body.