How to Use Natural Supplements for Menopause Symptoms in a Safer Way

For decades, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was known as a main treatment for menopausal symptoms. After the year of 2000, however, numerous empirical findings in women's health issues raised serious questions about long-term safety of HRT. This is an important reason to push many women seek for 'safer' alternative therapies - botanical or natural supplement treatments are welcomed since then.

Although botanical supplements are focused as a safe method of remedy for menopausal symptoms supported by many evidences on market, there are some essential points to keep in mind before choosing these therapies:

1. Tell your doctor about any alternative practices. Your doctor should know the full picture of what you do to avoid any miss therapies or over doses with normal prescription drugs. Remember herbs can also give positive interactions with drugs or, thus, negative side effects.

2. Natural doesn't mean SAFE. Keep in mind that even though dietary supplements are from natural sources, "natural" doesn't mean completely safe. Like all medicines, botanical treatments can cause harmful side effects.

There are numerous supplement products for menopausal remedy available on drugstore's counter. Such products are often marketed as food supplements and 100% derived from natural sources that make you feel safe to try them.The list below shows negative side effects from 'popular' supplements on market:
  • Black cohosh- This herb is a 'highlight' herb among botanical supplements for menopausal treatment. Many studies have claimed about its effectiveness to relieve hot flashes and night sweats, however, many reliable evidences reports to its major effect on the liver.These cases are very unusual; the use of this herb should be avoided if the patient has a liver disorder or in risk of liver trouble, such as dark urine or hepatitis.
  • Dong quai - Dong quai can interact with the blood-thinning medicine, for example Warfarin (Coumadin). This can lead to bleeding complications later.
  • Kava- The FDA has warning to the patient who has liver disease that the herbs can potentially cause serious harm to the liver. Also, that some manufacturer had claimed that they use in "verified" term or "certified" dosage do not guarantee product quality and safety.
  • Ginkgo- Ginkgo has been known to help avid the onset of memory loss and cognitive function. Like Dong quai, Ginkgo can interfere with blood clotting, so it should not be taken with anti-coagulant drugs such as Warfarin and Aspirin.
  • Sage- Known as a helpful herb in relieving hot flushes and night sweats, it must be aware of interaction with some drugs such as Tamoxifen.
  • Red clover- clinical studies report little side effects with no related serious health problems itself; however, there are some notes of caution about phytoestrogens in the herb. From some findings, phytoestrogens may have unsafe effects on hormone-sensitive tissue such as in the breast and uterus tissues.
3. Choose reliable products. Many of herbal products often marketed as food supplements but usually not subject to any safety regulations on label as conventional drugs did. Choosing trust manufacturers may help reduce any chance of taking bad choices from under standard products.
Moreover, be caution that an herbal supplement product may contain dozens of unknown ingredients mixtures. For example, a bottle of black cohosh supplement consists of 30% of the herb and other 70% of unknown compounds.

Also consider the possibility that what are on the label may not be your preferable ingredients you look for. Dietary supplements sometimes differ between label and actual ingredients.
This is just a small caution you should know before choosing any natural supplements. Alternative treatment is still interesting for menopausal symptoms. However, it should be aware that not only herbal supplement remedies but also total lifestyle changes. Your healthy behavior is the key answer. Quit smoking, healthy diet, regular exercising and stress managing have been proved to prevent for relief of menopause-related symptoms with totally no side effects.

To further explore about menopause, menopause symptoms, menopause treatments and alternative remedies, also see
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