Alternatives to HRT
Here at The Menopause Hub we’re strong believers in the efficacy of HRT. However, as with all things medical there are always other options available to you. Some work better than others and all work differently depending on the individual. Below are some of the more popular complementary therapies available, it may be down to a little bit of trial and error to find out which, if any, will make a difference to you, but you should always bear in mind that most of these therapies have not been subject to the scientific rigour involved in testing prescribed medication.
Photo-oestrogens are a group of plant based molecules that get their name because they deliver an oestrogen like effect. They came to prominence in the 1990’s when studies suggested that Japanese menopausal women suffered significantly fewer hot flushes than their western counterparts. There is slight evidence to show than they also suffer a lower incidence of breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Soy preparations are now available on the market in the form of pills or capsules at doses of 50-100mg per day.
Trifolium Pratense, or Red Clover to you and I, is marketed as a dietary supplement and contains additional chemical elements that are not present in soy and therefore it may have a different biological activity. However despite the fact that some women use it for the treatment of hot flushes, any of the studies that have examined it in doses of 40-160mg per day have shown that it has no significant effects on the incidence or severity of hot flushes. As with many complementary therapies, it proves difficult to conduct effective research due to the difference in preparations and the absorption and metabolisation variance between individuals.
Despite sounding like the name of a 90’s Goth band, Black Cohosh is actually a plant that has long been used by Native Americans for the treatment of gynaecological conditions. The treatment of menopausal signs and symptoms are the primary therapeutic application of the plant and it is the main ingredient in the over the counter preparation Remifemine. Its biologically active component is attributed to a number of chemicals called tryterpine glycosides, however it is recommended that its use is limited to six months due to the uncertainty about its possible long term side effects.