(BPT) - Today in the United States, an estimated 50 million women have reached menopause, and most will spend at least one-third of their lives beyond their final period, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Nearly 80 percent of women in industrialized countries experience hot flashes or night sweats, which can start years before menopause and continue for five or more years afterwards. For many, hot flashes are more than a minor or occasional irritation—they can be severe and frequent enough to seriously affect quality of life.
Though many suffer from menopausal hot flashes, relatively few may know the choices they have for relief. A recent women's survey conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) and Metagenics found that only 23 percent of women ages 50-64 were aware of the wide range of hot flash relief options—and just 10 percent have discussed non-hormonal options with their healthcare practitioner. Yet 69 percent reported they would be comfortable using natural, non-hormonal or natural approaches to help reduce their hot flashes.
Hormone therapies (HT) are considered the most effective conventional treatment for hot flashes, but are typically recommended at the lowest possible dose for the shortest duration possible to relieve symptoms. Not all women, however, may feel comfortable using HT. A wide range of natural, non-hormonal approaches are available to address hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. These include evening primrose oil, black cohosh, and botanical compounds. Though many of these options are generally accepted as safe, the results have been mixed.
“The degree of relief with popular, non-hormonal approaches varies considerably,” said Wendy Warner, MD, who is board certified in obstetrics/gynecology and holistic medicine and established the Medicine in Balance integrative medicine practice in Langhorne, PA. She is also the former president of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. “A non-hormonal treatment that I often recommend to patients is Estrovera. Estrovera features a novel rhubarb extract known as ERr 731® that has been demonstrated in multiple clinical studies to effectively relieve many menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, anxiety, and negative mood. Researchers compared the degree of hot flash relief to be similar to results seen with low-dose hormone therapies.”
Women who suffer from menopause-related hot flashes should talk with their healthcare provider to learn more about options for relief.
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