Complementary and alternative therapy

Non-prescription therapeutics, including some herbal and complementary treatments, can help with the symptoms of menopause. Health-care providers and consumers should be aware however that while many of these therapies may be potentially useful, scientific research in the area of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) is limited at this time and long-term safety data on herbal remedies is not yet available. Consumers should note that natural products do have side effects and can cause adverse reactions just like pharmaceutical therapies. They also present the risk of serious drug interactions. Consult your health-care provider before using any CAM treatment options.

Herbal remedies include natural health products such as herbs, vitamins, minerals and homeopathics. Black cohosh and foods that contain phytoestrogens show some positive effects on menopausal symptoms including hot flashes. Natural health products are classified as drugs.

Visit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's website for more information About Herbs, Botanicals and Other Products.

Complementary approaches

Complementary approaches to managing menopause symptoms can also be effective. Using a fan, dressing in layers and drinking cold drinks can all temporarily help with night sweats and flushing. Meditation, exercise, quitting smoking and losing weight (if needed) can also be helpful for managing symptoms.

The January 2009 issue of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (U.S.A.) highlights the lack of good quality evidence on the effectiveness of herbal medicines for the relief of menopausal vasomotor symptoms or how they might react with prescription medication.

Learn more about selected Non-Prescription Therapies for Menopausal Symptoms.

Learn more about selected Non-Prescription Therapies where available data does not support use for menopausal symptoms.

Read a North American Menopause Society article about the range of treatment options available.

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"According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, alternative therapies can’t cure cancer but there are 11 treatments that can help relieve nausea, pain and stress, including acupuncture, aromatherapy and hypnosis."