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December 26, 2011

5 More Alternatives to Female Hormone Replacement Therapy

Female Hormone Replacement Therapy and herbal remedies
Image via Wikipedia

Move Over, Female Hormone Replacement Therapy!

I’m sure menopausal women would totally agree with me when I say that menopause is a b*tch. Hot flushes, night sweats, dry vagina, impaired libido, crumbling bones, mood swings, and other symptoms that basically compromise her sense of well-being. These are some of the things that harry millions of women reaching this ripe phase of their lives. So how should they combat this hellcat of a condition?  In addition to female hormone replacement therapy are there other options as well? Some women turn to natural alternatives. Let us get acquainted with these to find out if they are indeed viable options.

Replacing Female Hormone Replacement Therapy

We have already discussed Soy and Isoflavones, Ginseng, St. John Wort’s, and Chasteberry in a previous post, here are five more to add to your options:

1. Black Cohosh

If night sweats and hot flashes are what’s keeping you up all night, then this could be the female hormone replacement therapy substitute you are looking for as it is deemed to relieve such symptoms in the short-term, six months at the most. There is no need to worry about side effects it may cause since it appears to be very safe, but what you should think about is its efficacy since there have been no big long-term studies about it yet.

2. Dong Quai

Do not get ahead of yourself, taking this female hormone replacement therapy alternative just because the hot flashes are pestering you again. Although it is recommended for this symptom, it has been shown in a study to be bring the same effect as that of placebo, meaning, it is not effective. The 4.5-gram dose that was used in the trial, however, was lower than the usual dose in Chinese medicine. Increasing the dose can perhaps make it more effective, but your concern now would be safety as this herb is potentially toxic. Dong Quai has compounds that can thin the blood, which can trigger too much bleeding, and increases the sensitivity of the skin to the sun, which can potentially raise the risk of skin cancer.

3. Evening Primrose

Evening primrose seeds are teeming with gamma-linolenic acid, considered by a number of experts as the fatty acids ideal for humans. This plant is known to be made into capsules that are administered not just to alleviate the symptoms of menopause, but also for bladder symptoms and breast cancer. However, proof to demosntrate it as an effective substitute to female hormone replacement therapy is not substantial. The only quality study done for this plant showed that its effects on hot flashes are just similar to placebo.

4. Valerian Root

Trouble sleeping at night due to the vexing symptoms? Then turn to this natural sleeping aid, tranquilizer, and female hormone replacement therapy alternative. You must be aware though that its use is not backed by the US Pharmacopoeia, the body that establishes manufacturing standards for drugs. Also consider accounts of delirium and heart problems linked to the abrupt discontinuance of intake of this root.

5. Wild and Mexican Yam

Although wild and Mexican yam is gaining popularity among female golden agers, there have been no published reports yet to demonstrate its benefits in relieving symptoms of menopause. This yam contains hormones that do not exhibit any estrogenic or progestational effects, hence, it may not really help post-menopausal women.

Though female hormone replacement therapy has many health benefits beyond treating menopausal symptoms, some women still search for the perfect alternative but it has yet to be discovered.

See related articles.

“Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy in the Eyes of Its Advocates”

“Replacement Hormone Therapy at a Glance”

“Hormone Replacement Therapy Pros and Cons”

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Dr. Joe Jacko


Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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