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With the bad press that menopause treatments such as HRT (hormone replacement therapy) routinely get, many women prefer to seek natural menopause remedies for their irksome symptoms. Yet there are many concerns; chiefly those of efficacy that surround these treatments.

One thing to keep in mind is the fact that so called natural menopause remedies should not be assumed to be safe simply because a manufacturer appends the term ‘natural’ to a product. Before deciding on a treatment option, natural or otherwise, acquaint yourself fully about its ingredients, trials conducted if any, their results, possible side effects and all relevant information about the treatment.

What are the most commonly used natural menopause remedies and what is their efficacy?

Lifestyle alterations

These can be effective not only in naturally relieving menopause but may also help women improve overall health. Giving up smoking and reducing alcohol and caffeine consumption is known to help relieve menopause symptoms including hot flashes.

Regular exercise, particularly weight bearing exercise (to reduce bone loss) and eating healthy (less fat, salt and sugar, more natural fiber) will help keep menopause weight gain under control and help combat the fatigue and tiredness that woman are often plagued with.

Other practical changes such as wearing looser, lighter clothing, avoiding triggers of hot flashes (hot or spicy foods for instance), reducing stress can all help to keep reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Doing Kegel exercises (for the pelvic floor muscles) can help women avoid stress incontinence and also help enhance sensation during sexual intercourse.

Herbal remedies and nutritional supplements

Herbal or botanical remedies are among the most commonly used natural menopause remedies, but there seems to be divergent views about their efficacy.

Black Cohosh (Remifemin and others), is thought to be helpful in reducing hot flashes but it’s possible long term consequences are not fully understood so is not recommended to take beyond 6 months.

Flaxseed or linseed is thought to reduce hot flashes and may also lower breast cancer risk according to research.

Dong quai is also said to reduce menopause symptoms; however this claim is not supported by research.

There is some evidence to suggest that red clover isoflavones may help control bone loss in menopausal women.

In addition, fish oil supplements, ginseng and gingko are thought to be herbal remedies for helping with memory loss that often accompanies menopause; however research has not been able to show conclusively the efficacy of these natural menopause remedies.

Nutritional supplements such as calcium supplements can help combat bone loss, Vitamin E may help reduce hot flashes and magnesium supplements and Vitamin C supplements are also thought to help.

Alternative treatments

Different alternative treatments can be used to treat menopause symptoms either in addition to or instead of mainstream medications, and these are seen to work with varying degrees of success.

Acupuncture is thought to relieve a number of menopause symptoms including stress, anxiety and so on. Meditation and other relaxation techniques are also thought to be effective natural menopause remedies to reduce stress and anxiety, and mood swings.