Monday, June 4, 2012

Symptoms of Menopause May Be Managed With Nutrition

It is estimated that over 50 million women have reached menopause.  Menopause is the naturally occurring event in a women’s life when hormonal changes cease menstruation and experience a reduction in estrogen. The average age of the onset of menopause is 51 years of age, but it can happen earlier or later.

While it is, of course, not a disease by any means, menopause does have some symptoms which include hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood changes among others. Luckily, many of these symptoms can be relieved or minimized with great health practices including a good diet, exercise, and healthy rest. Studies also show that some herbal remedies may also be able to help.

Our friends and the American Botanical Council have recently posted the following article regarding Black Cohosh and St. John’s Wort playing a part in quelling the negative experiences of menopause:

Menopausal Symptoms Relieved with Black Cohosh/St. John’s Wort Combination

Menopause is accompanied by various climacteric symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, urogenital atrophy, irregular menstruation, insomnia, depression, palpitations, and headaches. Because of the risks associated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), women often turn to alternative therapies to relieve these symptoms. Among the alternative therapies are preparations of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa syn. Cimicifuga racemosa [CR]) rhizome/roots, chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus [AC]) fruit, and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum [HP]) flowering tops. Several products with these ingredients are available as monotherapy. These authors conducted a systematic review of the literature to assess the effectiveness of alternative drugs for the treatment of vasomotor, cognitive, and genital climacteric complaints.

The authors searched PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE (1948-2009), and EMBASE (1980-2009) for randomized controlled trials published in German or English. They included trials of subjects with vasomotor, genital, and cognitive climacteric complaints using supplements of CR, HP, and/or AC, vitamins, or minerals. The subjects had to be using no medication for their symptoms other than the study drug.

Twelve study reports were included in the review with a total of 1,573 patients; 11 of the studies had a double-blind design, the other did not. One study was excluded from the analysis because of low quality (as determined by using the Jadad Scale) and no description of blinding. Group results that were published as two studies and three studies were combined for evaluation as two single studies; one of these groups included comparisons of CR with both placebo and estrogen.

Four studies examined the effects of CR and placebo, and two studies examined the effect of the mixture of CR and HP in comparison to placebo. In three studies, the effect of CR and estrogens or the synthetic hormone drug tibolone was evaluated. Therapy with AC was found in only one RCT and was administered in combination with HP.

Of the four studies examining the effects of CR versus placebo, three1-3 showed no significant difference in the total population for scores on the Wiklund Menopause Symptom and Vasomotor Symptom scales, the Kupperman Index hot flashes score, and the Menopause Rating Scale (MSR) for hot flashes. In the other study,4 an improvement in MSR hot flashes (after three months, P=0.007) was seen, but no other vasomotor symptoms improved. The evaluation of frequency of sweating episodes showed a significant difference in the CR group but not in the estrogen group in one study.2 In that same study, the ratio of nights with waking up early decreased significantly in the CR group (P<0.05) more

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Loved learning about this. Excellent