Claudia Jackson (RN)
Dr Adam Abbs
Next Review: Sep 1, 2025
Do herbal menopause treatments really work02
Home remedies for hot flashes during menopause03
Natural remedies for weight gain in menopause04
Home remedies for body odour during menopause05
Indian home remedies for menopause06
Finding the right treatment for menopause symptoms can be a daunting task and with so many options available it can be hard to know where to start.
Many women like the idea of natural therapies over conventional medications, as they feel they are safer and have fewer side effects. Though some natural remedies may help relieve symptoms, they normally haven’t gone through the same tests as conventional medications, so their effects may be unproven. Natural remedies can also cause side effects, interact with other medicines, and may be unsafe for some people.
If you are in early menopause, it’s important to take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at least until you reach normal menopausal age as this provides protection against heart disease and osteoporosis. Always talk to your doctor before starting any natural treatments for menopause.
Let’s take a look at what natural treatments are available, what symptoms they can help with, and whether natural remedies could be right for you.
Do herbal menopause treatments really work?
Herbs have been used for centuries to treat disease, promote health and wellbeing, and relieve symptoms including menopause symptoms.
Black cohosh is a commonly used supplement during menopause and is said to help with hot flashes and night sweats.
A 2012 review of 16 studies into black cohosh found no evidence that the herb is any better than a placebo (sugar pill) at relieving menopause symptoms. The review concluded that more studies were needed. Side effects of black cohosh are rare, but include upset stomach, feeling sick, and skin rashes. You should not take black cohosh if you have, or have ever had, problems with your liver.
Red Clover is used to treat hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal symptoms, and bone loss in menopausal women. Red clover contains isoflavones, a compound that works in a similar way to oestrogen.
A 2015 review found that women taking red clover experienced fewer hot flashes than those taking the placebo. They also reported less vaginal dryness and had a significant improvement in vaginal atrophy (thinning, dryness, and irritation of vaginal tissue). However, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines for the management of menopause, perimenopause and premature ovarian insufficiency state that “there is a lack of consistent evidence for the benefits of botanicals, black cohosh, omega-3-fatty acids, red clover, and vitamin E＂ before adding that “some women may experience a benefit.＂
Red clover can cause mild side effects like headaches and feeling sick. It is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have a history of breast, ovarian, or uterine (womb) cancer. You should not take red clover for more than one year as its long-term effects are not known.
Korean red ginseng claims to improve sex drive, mood, and sense of wellbeing in menopausal women. A 2016 review found some evidence of this, though more studies are needed.
Side effects of Korean red ginseng include headache, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, skin rashes, and diarrhoea. Some studies have suggested that Korean red ginseng may affect blood sugar levels, so if you are taking diabetes medication, talk to your GP before taking this supplement.
Red ginseng may interact with certain medications including medications for cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood thinners, so check with your GP before starting this treatment.
Dong Quai, sometimes known as “female ginseng” is commonly used in Chinese medicine to help with symptoms of menopause. But a 1997 study of 71 menopausal women found the herb to be “no more effective than the placebo in relieving menopause symptoms.” There is some evidence that Dong Quai may help reduce menopause symptoms when combined with other herbs such as chamomile, red clover, and black cohos however, The North American Menopause Society position statement found inconclusive and insufficient data to recommend the Dong Quai as proven therapy for managing the menopausal symptoms. Dong Quai may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun so be sure to use a good sunscreen while taking it. It should not be taken by people on blood thinning medication.
Valerian is a herb that can be used during menopause to help with insomnia (difficulty sleeping) and hot flashes.
Two small studies into the effects of valerian found a significant reduction in hot flashes while a further study showed that a combination of valerian and lemon balm reduced sleep disorders in menopausal women. As with many herbal supplements, there isn’t enough evidence to say for sure whether they are effective, and more research is needed.
Valerian can cause mild side effects such as headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and stomach upset. It is not recommended if you are taking medication for pain, sleep, or anxiety and may interact with other supplements including St John’s wort, kava, and melatonin.
Evening primrose oil may also have benefits during menopause. One study comparing 56 menopausal women found that those taking evening primrose oil had fewer hot flashes and they were shorter and less severe than women taking the placebo, but further studies are needed. CKS-NICE and The North American Menopause Society position statement found insufficient and inconclusive data and suggests that herbal therapies including evening primrose should not be recommended as approved treatment or therapy for managing menopausal symptoms.
Side effects may include feeling sick or mild stomach pain. Evening primrose oil may interact with some HIV medications, so talk to your GP if you are having treatment for HIV before taking this supplement.
Home remedies for hot flashes during menopause
Hot flashes are a common and distressing symptom during menopause and around 75 % of women report having them. It`s thought that they occur because a drop in oestrogen levels affects the brain’s thermostat (hypothalamus) causing your body temperature to fluctuate. Some natural remedies that may help reduce hot flashes include:
- Sage. Recent research found that taking a daily sage supplement reduced the number of hot flashes in post-menopausal women by 50% in 4 weeks and 64% within 8 weeks. It also appeared to help with psychological symptoms like mood swings, but currently there is no sufficient data and more research is needed to make a definitive conclusion whether this treatment works. You can take sage in tablet form, or drink sage tea. Both are available from health food shops.
Vitamin E. A 2007 study found that women who took a vitamin E supplement reported fewer hot flashes and their hot flashes were less severe when compared to the placebo group, though again, more studies are needed. You can take vitamin E as a supplement or apply it as a cream to help with dry or itchy skin during menopause.
Natural remedies for weight gain in menopause
Weight gain is common after menopause and is due to a combination of lifestyle factors and age-related changes. As we get older we tend to be less active while eating the same or more calories. We also lose muscle mass and gain fat as we age which means we burn calories more slowly. Lower oestrogen levels in menopause affect the way your body stores fat and you may find that you put on weight around your abdomen (belly). But weight gain after menopause isn’t inevitable!
Here are a few things you can do to stop the middle age spread:
- A healthy diet is vital for all aspects of our health and wellbeing and being overweight can lead to a range of health problems from heart disease and type 2 diabetes to breathing problems and hypertension. Aim to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish, and cut down on fats, sugars, and processed foods. If you are struggling with losing weight, talk to your GP, healthcare provider, or dietitian for advice and support.
- Sport or regular physical activity becomes increasingly important as we age. Its benefits include weight control, increased muscle strength, stronger bones, better sleep, and improved memory and mood. Aim for around two and a half hours of moderate exercise a week and combine strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and stretching for best results. As with all the treatments in this article, talk to your GP before starting any exercise routine.
- Sleep is vital to function properly, and can help with menopause symptoms like memory loss, low mood, and anxiety. Poor quality sleep can affect the hormones that control appetite and fullness, increasing cravings, especially for high carbohydrate foods. If you are having problems sleeping, speak with your pharmacist or book an online GP appointment with Medicspot.
- Stress Management is another important factor in weight control. High stress levels can lead to overeating and poor food choices as well as causing fluctuations in the hormones cortisol and insulin, which can affect your metabolism. Healthy coping mechanisms to reduce stress include yoga, meditation, listening to uplifting music, or taking a walk in a natural environment.
Home remedies for body odour during menopause
Body odour occurs when bacteria on the surface of our skin break down sweat, creating an unpleasant smell. Increased body odour when going through the menopause is very common due to hot flashes, and many women seek advice about this unpleasant symptom.
Here are a few natural remedies you can try to reduce body odour.
- Shower more frequently to wash away sweat and bacteria that lead to body odour. Once or twice a day is usually enough.
- Shave your armpits. Sweat stays on hair longer than on skin, giving bacteria more time to break it down and create odour.
- Wear breathable fabrics like cotton and linen to allow sweat to evaporate instead of lingering on the skin. Loose-fitting, lightweight clothes can also reduce sweating and body odour.
- Avoid certain foods like garlic, curry, and red meat, as these foods can affect how your sweat smells and make body odour worse.
Baking soda and essential oils like lavender, pine, peppermint, and tea tree oil may soak up sweat and neutralise body odour. Always mix a few drops of essential oils with oil such as coconut oil, or dilute with water and test on a small patch of skin first to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
Indian home remedies for menopause
Ayurveda is an ancient form of medicine from India that dates back thousands of years. Ayurvedic medicine differs from western medicine in that it aims to promote wellness by creating a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurvedic medicine takes a holistic approach to the menopause.
Ayurveda’s menopause treatments include:
- Herbs and dietary supplements like aloe vera, Shatavari, fenugreek seeds, and Ashoka powder.
- Promoting restful sleep by developing a good sleep routine and a meditative practice called yoga Nidra to aid relaxation and sleep.
- Ayurvedic massage (Abhyanga or Shirodhara)
As an ancient, traditional practice, Ayurveda is not clinically proven to help with menopause symptoms and more studies are needed.
The right treatment for menopause symptoms is different for every woman and will depend on your symptoms, medical history, general health, and personal preferences.
It may take some time, as well as trial and error before finding the treatment that works best for you. Your GP can provide support and guidance when choosing which treatments to try.
If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to know if you are entering menopause, you can order a rapid test kit from Medicspot. This is a simple urine test that you do at home. Results are available in minutes.
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Healthline: 10 herbs and supplements for menopause September 30th, 2020 (Accessed July 25th, 2022)
WebMD: Natural Treatments for Menopause Symptoms July 1st, 2022 (Accessed July 25th, 2022)
Holland&Barrett: 11 natural remedies for menopause & symptoms June 15th, 2022 (Accessed July 25th, 2022)
Menopausenow: 6 Home Remedies for Menopausal Body Odour June 18th, 2020 (Accessed July 25th, 2022)
PubMed: Black cohosh (Cimicifuga spp.) for menopausal symptoms September 12th, 2012 (Accessed July 25th, 2022)
PubMed: Red clover for treatment of hot flashes and menopausal symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis October 15th, 2015 (Accessed July 26th, 2022)
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PubMed: The effect of oral evening primrose oil on menopausal hot flashes: a randomized clinical trial April 27th, 2013 (Accessed July 26th, 2022)
PubMed: The effect of vitamin E on hot flashes in menopausal women July 30th, 2007 (Accessed July 26th, 2022)
PubMed: First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes May 16th, 2011 (Accessed July 26th, 2022)
PubMed: Exercise beyond menopause: Dos and Don’ts July-December 2011 (Accessed July 26th, 2022)
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NHS: Body Odour December 6th, 2021 (Accessed August 11th, 2022)