|May 2002 · Vol. 14, No. 5
Treating hot flushes without hormone replacement therapy
Many women who are either unwilling or unable to take hormone replacement therapy seek plant-based remedies to alleviate vasomotor symptoms that accompany the menopausal transition. Here, the author outlines the primary alternative therapies used to combat hot flushes.
Dr. Seibel is a reproductive endocrinologist at Caritas Norwood Hospital in Norwood, Mass; clinical professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine; and medical director of Inverness Medical Innovations, Inc, in Waltham, Mass.
About 21% of women surveyed use complementary or alternative therapies alone, and 25% said they used both conventional and alternative methods.
Women who take 50 mg of soy isoflavones daily typically report a 40% to 50% reduction in hot flushes.
Black cohosh yields up to an 80% improvement in hot flushes.
Doses of 40 mg of red clover per day effect a significant reduction in hot flushes.
Roughly 4,000 women in the United States turn 50 daily, joining the ranks of the 40 million American women currently menopausal. A survey published by the North American Menopause Society in 1998 found that the most common reason that women in this age group visit their physicians is to seek relief from everyday menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. While temporary, hot flushes can last up to 2 years and are a result of changes in estrogen levels.
Women in Western countries have an 80% incidence of hot flushes.