Some plant-based therapies associated with modest improvement in menopausal symptoms

June 21, 2016

An analysis of more than 60 studies suggests that some plant-based therapies are associated with modest reductions in the frequency of hot flashes and vaginal dryness but no significant reduction in night sweats, according to a study appearing in the June 21 issue of JAMA.

Medical treatments for symptoms associated with menopause are available, including . However, given the potentially negative health consequences of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular health and breast cancer, 40 percent to 50 percent of women in Western countries choose to use complementary therapies, including plant-based therapies. A broad range of plant-based therapies may improve . These therapies include the oral use of phytoestrogens such as dietary soy isoflavones and soy extracts; herbal remedies such as red clover and black cohosh; and Chinese and other medicinal herbs. Although associations of these therapies with menopausal symptoms have been evaluated in randomized trials, most of these studies were limited by sample size, a short follow-up period, suboptimal quality, and inconsistent findings.

Taulant Muka, M.D., Ph.D., of Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, conducted a review and meta-analysis of that assessed plant-based therapies and the presence of , night sweats, and . The researchers identified 62 studies (6,653 women) that met criteria for inclusion in the analysis.

Use of phytoestrogens was associated with a decrease in the number of daily hot flashes and vaginal dryness score between the treatment groups but not in the number of night sweats. Individual phytoestrogen interventions such as dietary and supplemental soy isoflavones were associated with improvement in daily hot flashes and vaginal dryness score. Several , but not Chinese medicinal herbs, were associated with an overall decrease in the frequency of vasomotor symptoms. There was substantial variation among the available studies in terms of scientific rigor and quality.

"Because of general suboptimal quality and the heterogeneous nature of the current evidence, further rigorous studies are needed to determine the association of plant-based and natural therapies with menopausal health," the authors write.

Explore further: Soy spells fewer hot flashes for certain women

More information: JAMA, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2016.8012

Related Stories

Soy spells fewer hot flashes for certain women

November 18, 2014
Does soy in the diet help with hot flashes? It does, but only for women whose bodies can produce the soy metabolite equol, reports a study of American women just published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American ...

Soy-rich diets may not prevent hot flashes in most menopausal women

November 22, 2012
(HealthDay)—Consuming soy products doesn't prevent hot flashes and night sweats in most women, a large study suggests.

Acupuncture used in clinical settings reduced symptoms of menopause

May 24, 2016
Acupuncture treatments can reduce the number of hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause by as much as 36 percent, according to researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The findings are published in ...

When I'm 64—I'll still have hot flashes?

March 2, 2015
Some 40% of women 60 to 65 years old still have hot flashes. For many, the hot flashes are occasional and mild, but for some, they remain really troublesome, shows a new study just published in Menopause, the journal of The ...

Soy: No effect on menopausal hot flashes

November 1, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A team of investigators led by UC Davis found that eating soy products such as soy milk and tofu did not prevent the onset of hot flashes and night sweats as women entered menopause.

Menopausal women use non-medical approaches to treat their symptoms and want more support

February 15, 2012
Menopausal women prefer non-medical treatment for their symptoms and want more support from their GP and partner, finds a new study published today in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Recommended for you

Three million Americans carry loaded handguns daily, study finds

October 19, 2017
An estimated 3 million adult American handgun owners carry a firearm loaded and on their person on a daily basis, and 9 million do so on a monthly basis, new research indicates. The vast majority cited protection as their ...

More teens than ever aren't getting enough sleep

October 19, 2017
If you're a young person who can't seem to get enough sleep, you're not alone: A new study led by San Diego State University Professor of Psychology Jean Twenge finds that adolescents today are sleeping fewer hours per night ...

Across Asia, liver cancer is linked to herbal remedies: study

October 18, 2017
Researchers have uncovered widespread evidence of a link between traditional Chinese herbal remedies and liver cancer across Asia, a study said Wednesday.

Eating better throughout adult years improves physical fitness in old age, suggests study

October 18, 2017
People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age than those who don't, according to a new study led by the University of Southampton.

Global calcium consumption appears low, especially in Asia

October 18, 2017
Daily calcium intake among adults appears to vary quite widely around the world in distinct regional patterns, according to a new systematic review of research data ahead of World Osteoporosis Day on Friday, Oct. 20.

New study: Nearly half of US medical care comes from emergency rooms

October 17, 2017
Nearly half of all US medical care is delivered by emergency departments, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM). And in recent years, the percentage of care delivered ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.