Menopause often arrives with a slew of inconvenient and uncomfortable symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy and medications containing estrogen may help alleviate harsh symptoms, but Sonyoung Seo-Patel, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist with ProMedica Physicians, says there may be other options.
This herb comes in a dietary supplement and is mostly used for hot flashes and mood swings. It may be able to improve a woman’s symptoms for up to one year.
Also an herb, fennel seed may help balance estrogen levels in the body, which may ease hot flashes and other menopausal issues. This herb can be infused into tea.
Vitamin E 800 IU/day has been shown to improve some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes.
These options can often be found at your local market or pharmacy, but Dr. Seo-Patel definitely recommends speaking with your doctor first, especially as these herbs and vitamins can interact with other medications a woman may be taking. (Learn more about the cautions of herbal supplements.) The risks and benefits of these herbal medications should be reviewed with a physician as well, as evidence regarding their effectiveness is limited.
Lifestyle changes and medications
Dr. Seo-Patel also says that the best relief may not come in an herb or vitamin. “Lifestyle changes, such as exercise, diet and weight loss can improve menopause symptoms,” she adds.
If these options don’t seem to be helping, it’s time to talk with your doctor. Prescription medications may be used to help alleviate symptoms. Taking hormonal medication for a prolonged amount of time may increase a woman’s risk of cardiovascular conditions in the future, so hormonal replacement therapy should be limited to the shortest amount of time possible. This timeline can vary from woman to woman, so speak with your doctor if you think you could benefit.
Want to learn more about menopause? Read this candid column from Dr. Marjorie DeMund on the symptoms of menopause.