Natural remedies for menopausal symptoms

Q: Is there a natural remedy or vitamin to take for hot flashes and the change of life? I don’t like taking prescription drugs.

A: There are many herbs and a few vitamins for the relief of menopause symptoms. However, it is important to remember that symptom relief is not the only menopausal health issue. It is also important to evaluate your risks for osteoporosis and heart disease. If your health care practitioner finds that you are unlikely to get either of these, then just using herbs and vitamins is appropriate.

I advise women at moderate risk for either heart disease or osteoporosis to use natural hormones. Many women at high risk need one of the friendly, conventional estrogens (Estrace or patches) and oral, natural progesterone. A practitioner who is knowledgeable about all the options — that is, nutrition, phytoestrogens, natural hormones and conventional HRT – can best help you with these decisions.

Bioflavinoids, vitamin E and soy supplements can help with menopausal symptoms. Herbs for menopause symptoms include black cohosh, dong quai, licorice and many excellent herbal combination products available in your natural food store.

If you are on a prescription estrogen now, it’s generally not advisable to just switch to herbs – many of your menopause symptoms would be likely to return. I would suggest finding a licensed practitioner to help you, preferably a naturopathic physician well-versed in menopause treatment.

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