CAM or Complementary and Alternative Medicine has been in use for various medical conditions. However, very few have scientific evidence to support their claims. Still many people use alternative medicine for their medical conditions, including for menopausal symptoms. For management of menopausal symptoms, there are several CAMs that are being used by patients and also under study, these include,
- Yoga for menopause symptoms: yoga can reduce perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flash, as several studies have shown. Evidence is also emerging that other forms of meditative techniques such as tai chi and ki gong are also useful in menopause. However, it is best to learn thse from qualified instructors before you can practice them.
- Phytoestrogens: these are plant estrogens (two types are known, isoflavones and lignans) that are found in natural products/foods. Lignans are found in flaxseeds, whole grains and in certain fruits and vegetables. Isoflavones are found in chickpeas, soybeans and other types of legumes. How effective are these plant estrogens is not proved and most studies found them to be ineffective. Isoflavone have weak estrogen like effect. Isoflavone pills are available in market, it is best to consult your doctor before taking these pills.
- Black cohosh: many women with symptoms of menopause take black cohosh. However, the effectiveness of this product is not certain and no scientific proof is available about its effectiveness in reducing hot flashes. In fact, it may even cause harm to you liver. Hence, be careful before you try this.
- Acupuncture: this traditional Chinese medicine can be useful in controlling symptoms of menopause such as hot flash. However, the benefits are usually temporary.
- Bioidentical hormones: this term means, the hormones in the product are chemically identical to the hormones produced by your body. However, USFDA do not regulate compound bioidentical hormones and the risk and benefits of such products may vary. However, there are some FDA approved products are available and one can use them. However, talk to your doctor before you start using these products.
There are also several dietary supplements (such as DHEA, evening primrose oil, kava, wild yam etc.) available in the market that claim to benefit menopausal hot flashes. However, evidence of their effectiveness is lacking; hence, talk to your doctor before using these supplements.
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