A recent survey has even found that 50% of women used herbs for menopause but did not tell their doctors about it! With research uncovering the long-term and harmful effects of hormone replacement therapy (ERT), many women are choosing to use holistic supplements such as soy to treat troubling symptoms of menopause.
Taken in 2004, this survey asked 781 women between the ages of 40 and 60 what they took for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and moodiness. When questioned about why they chose to use herbal remedies rather than something pharmacological, the general answer given by the majority of women indicated that they thought herbs were safer and simply wanted to use something that was natural, rather than a chemical that may promote stroke or breast cancer.
Frequently Used Herbs
Included in the survey were the most commonly utilized herbs for menopause which the women admitted to using. These were:
A major issue with herbal remedies is the poorly conducted research used to study herbs and their medicinal effects. Many times proper doses are unknown yet women participating in the survey thought they were using the correct dosage. Seventy percent of the women also depended on their doctors for reliable information regarding health concerns, rather than a professional herbalist or other alternative medical practitioner. Yet, they still continued taking herbal remedies for their menopausal symptoms.
Information Regarding Herbal Remedies
Women who were surveyed remained doubtful about their doctor’s ability to advise them about the potential benefits of alternative medicines, such as using herbs for menopause. Very few of them claimed that their doctor gave them any information regarding herbal treatments and were skeptical about their doctor’s knowledge about the different medicinal uses for herbs. While women consider their doctor’s input on their menopausal symptoms extremely valuable to their well-being, some researchers wonder if this indicates an attempt by drug manufacturers to “medicalize” menopause, i.e. to make it seem like menopause can only be helped by pharmacological medication.
Most doctors still recommend HRT as an effective treatment plan for alleviating incapacitating symptoms of menopause but do not recommend herbal remedies as a single method. They also strongly suggest telling your doctor that you are taking herbal supplements in case they prescribe something which may have serious interactions with certain plant-based chemicals.