Menopause is a predictable event at a certain age in any healthy woman.
In our context, however, it entails many psychological, medical, emotional, physiological, family, and social implications.
These many implications generate economic interest. For this reason a natural process is subjected to attempts to delay it because, among other things, life and its different stages have been prolonged.
Women now choose to have babies later in life which contradicts the evidence that the ovaries are no longer fertile.
And even when the woman does not desire to have a baby, she encounters social, labor and family pressures to stay young. This leads women to attempt to treat and prevent the symptoms of menopause as if it were a disease.
They are indeed uncomfortable symptoms. They include risks (osteoporosis, loss of estrogenic cardio protection, hypercholesterolemia), signs of decline (redistribution of fat, hot flashes), and unpleasantness (mood swings, vaginal dryness). We are talking about getting old, and this is horrifying!
So any proposal to combat these symptoms is welcome. But only in principle, because there is no rose without thorns.
Can “no side-effect” treatments actually cause any noticeable benefits beyond the placebo effect?
In recent years the use of complementary and alternative medicine has increased in general and particularly for the treatment of menopause.
I invite you to read an interesting article on the treatment of menopausal symptoms from the journal Alternative and Complementary Therapies.
Their conclusions are:
There is some evidence in favor of phytosterols and phytostanols to lower LDL and total cholesterol in postmenopausal women. Regular fiber intake is also effective in reducing total cholesterol.
There is also clinical evidence of the efficacy of a combination of calcium and vitamin D in reducing the loss of bone density and the incidence of fractures. It also helps to walk and do weight-bearing exercises.
Black Cohosh appears to be effective in relieving hot flashes in early menopause. While known phytoestrogens, including isoflavones and lignans, appear to have only minimal effect on hot flashes, they have more positive effects on lipid levels and loss of bone density.
In the rare instances when other commonly used alternative therapies, such as probiotics, prebiotics, dehydroepinetronone sulfate, acupuncture or homeopathy are actually examined in placebo-controlled studies, the results are unconvincing.
-The article makes an interesting review of alternative and complementary therapies, from herbal medicine to reflexotherapy.