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Navigating Menopause: Exploring Herbal Supplements and Alternative Therapies

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Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of menstrual cycles. It’s diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States. While it’s a natural part of aging, some women may experience symptoms that can affect their quality of life.

As healthcare professionals, it’s important to be aware of the various treatment options available to help manage these symptoms. In addition to traditional hormone replacement therapy (HRT), there are several alternative therapies that can provide relief for menopausal symptoms.

Lifestyle Modifications

A healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce menopausal symptoms. This includes:

Eating a balanced diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and phytoestrogens1.

Maintaining a moderate weight and avoiding trigger foods.

Regular exercise and practicing yoga.

Drinking enough water and reducing refined sugar and processed foods

Herbal Supplements

There are several herbal supplements that have been used to alleviate menopausal symptoms. These include:

Black Cohosh: This plant-based substance acts as a phytoestrogen, which works similarly to the hormone estrogen. It is often used in natural menopause treatments for women with low levels of estrogen and is licensed to relieve symptoms of menopause, including hot flushes, night sweats, irritability, and restlessness.

Red Clover: Red clover is a plant that contains high amounts of isoflavones, which are plant compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. Red clover may help to decrease menopausal symptoms like night sweats and hot flushes, especially in women with severe symptoms.

Dong Quai: Dong quai is an herb that is sometimes used to treat perimenopause and menopause symptoms. These symptoms include hot flashes, moodiness, vaginal dryness, and excessive sweating.

Evening Primrose Oil: Evening primrose oil is a supplement that contains gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that may help regulate hormones and reduce menopausal symptoms4. Some of these symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, breast pain, joint discomfort, and mood changes.

Ginseng: Ginseng contains phytoestrogens that have a very similar structure to estrogens in women’s bodies5. It could fill up the decreasing estrogen levels in menopausal women that help in the management of menopause symptoms or could even eliminate symptoms with regular consumption.

Soy: Soy contains isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens — a chemical that’s like estrogen. Eating soy foods or taking soy supplements may help with menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes, by reducing their number and severity.

St John’s Wort: St John’s wort is a herbal supplement that might reduce menopausal symptoms of anxiety, depression, hot flushes and night sweats by some 30%-50% of what they were at the outset.

Alternative Therapies

Several alternative therapies have shown promise in relieving menopausal symptoms. These include:

Foot Reflexology: Reflexology is a treatment that involves applying pressure to different points on the bottom of the foot. According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), these points correspond to different areas of the body. They are believed to have multiple benefits, including reducing stress, aiding digestion, and promoting sound sleep.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been shown to help alleviate menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood swings, and sleep disruptions9. Compared to artificial medications or hormonal replacement therapies, acupuncture has fewer adverse effects.

Massage Therapy: Massage therapy can reduce stress, relieve menopausal symptoms and boost circulation of blood while promoting general relaxation.

It’s important to note that while these therapies can provide relief, their effectiveness can vary from person to person. Also, keep in mind that these therapies are meant to complement, not replace, traditional medical treatments.

Non-Hormonal Treatments

Non-hormonal treatments are also available for managing menopausal symptoms. These treatments primarily target hot flushes and night sweats, and include certain antidepressants, gabapentin, and clonidine.

In conclusion, while HRT remains an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, alternative therapies offer additional options for women who cannot or choose not to use HRT. As healthcare professionals, it’s important to be knowledgeable about these alternatives to provide the best possible care for our patients. Always remember to discuss these options with your patients and consider their personal needs, preferences, and medical history when recommending treatments.

Are you looking to expand your knowledge on menopause management? Look no further! The course “Menopause Management: A Guide for Health Professionals” offered by PDUK is a fantastic resource for healthcare professionals seeking to deepen their understanding of menopause and its management.

This course provides comprehensive insights into the physiological changes during menopause, the associated symptoms, and the various management strategies, including alternative therapies. It’s an excellent opportunity to enhance your professional development and provide better care for your patients.


Dunneram, Y., Greenwood, D.C., Burley, V.J., Cade, J.E., 2021. Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, [online] Available at: <10> [Accessed 5 April 2023].

Echeverria, V., Echeverria, F., Barreto, G.E., Echeverría, J., Mendoza, C., 2021. Estrogenic Plants: to Prevent Neurodegeneration and Memory Loss and Other Symptoms in Women After Menopause. Frontiers in Pharmacology, [online] Available at: <11> [Accessed 5 April 2023].

Kazemi, F., Masoumi, S.Z., Shayan, A., Oshvandi, K., 2021. The Effect of Evening Primrose Oil Capsule on Hot Flashes and Night Sweats in Postmenopausal Women: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Menopausal Medicine, [online] Available at: <15> [Accessed 5 April 2023].

Farag, M.A., Reda, A., Nabil, M., Elimam, D.M., Zayed, A., 2023. Evening primrose oil: a comprehensive review of its bioactives, extraction, analysis, oil quality, therapeutic merits, and safety. Food & Function, [online] Available at: <16> [Accessed 5 April 2023].

Ilankoon, I.M.P.S., Samarasinghe, K., Elgán, C., 2023. Menopause is a natural stage of aging: a qualitative study. BMC Women’s Health, [online] Available at: <19> [Accessed 5 April 2023].