Complementary and Alternative therapy for menopause

There are many ways of managing your symptoms and support wellbeing that do not involve adding hormones.

  • Healthy lifestyle choices can be used with complementary and alternative treatments
    • See our lifestyle FAQ for helpful information about the lifestyle pillars on the Rowena Health website
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy can help to improve anxiety, depression, sleep and hot flushes, this can be done in 1-1 therapy, in a group session or by using an online or book to support you
  • Non-hormonal prescribable medications
    • These include antidepressants, Gabapentin, Oxybutynin and Clonidine. These medications can be effective for relief of hot flushes, in low doses. It is important to discuss any side effects which might occur.
  • Neurokinin B receptor antagonists
    • These are available privately at the moment and are effective in the relief of hot flushes. Studies are ongoing in women who have a history of breast cancer. This link takes you to the BMS statement.
  • Complementary treatments: evidence for relief of hot flushes is limited but these may improve wellbeing. It is important to see a qualified specialist who has undertaken the training to advise you safely:
    • Hypnotherapy: a type of psychological therapy using hypnosis help treat some mental and physical health conditions and to change habits. Reduces vasomotor symptoms and self hypnosis can improve sleep. National hypnotherapy society
    • Acupuncture: conflicting evidence for benefit. The British Medical Acupuncture Society
    • Yoga: may have a broad impact on coping with menopausal changes and improving well-being rather than specifically controlling hot flushes. At the heart of yoga
    • Ayurdeva – is the “Science of life” an Indian system of health care which deals with the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of health and illness. It views menopause as a transition period and treatments can include massage, baths and also enemas, laxatives, herbs, meditation and dietary advice. 
    • Reflexology: a gentle therapy stimulating, massaging and putting pressure on the feet and hands
    • Aromatherapy: essential oils are produced from different parts of aromatic plants. They are then concentrated and their properties become more potent. They can be used blended in carrier oils before coming in contact with skin. The smell or inhalation of them also has an effect. The oils can be used in the bath, or for massage.
      • Bergamot may reduce low mood
      • Chamomile like the tea can aid a feeling of calm, lemon balm may also have this effect
      • Clary sage may be useful for PMS
      • Fennel helps alleviate water retention
      • Geranium has a regulation effect, can help with anxiety and feelings of restlessness
      • Jasmine can help with depression and anxiety
      • Juniper can have a detoxifying effect.
      • Lavender is useful in aiding sleep
      • Rosemary helps prevent fluid retention when used regularly for massage. It also has an effect on GABA which may promote calm
    • These are some examples, please see a therapist and check their qualifications and experience. Although little is known about the effect of aromatherapy on menopausal symptoms, it is a therapy which allows you time for yourself which may help you cope with the menopause better. Thank you Menopause Matters for this information
  • Alternative treatments:
    • Herbal medicine – we always recommend you see a specialist in order to get safe advice
      • If traditional herbal medicines are purchased, guidelines recommend products with the THR logo. This shows that they have been approved, the product has the correct dosage and is of high quality and has suitable product information. 
      • NICE guidelines advise that many herbal medicines have unpredictable dosage and purity, and some have significant drug interactions so please seek advice from a herbal specialist
      • Black cohosh: a North American traditional herb, may be effective in reducing hot flushes, but the quality and standardisation of products varies. Can interact with medications such as Tamoxifen. There are unknown risks about its safety and its safety in women with a history of breast cancer.
      • St John’s Wort is extracted from leaves of Hypericum perforatum, a European plant. Its active ingredient hyperflorin has been shown to inhibit the reuptake of several neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. It has been used for the treatment of mild to moderate depression because of its SSRI effect. Some studies show benefits to improved menopause-related quality of life and sleep. It may improve hot flushes. It should be taken with caution as it interacts with other drugs such as anticonvulsants, anticoagulants and Tamoxifen.
      • Oil of Evening Primrose is a flowering plant rich in linolenic acid, evidence suggests its effect on hot flushes is no better than placebo. It may be helpful for breast pain at a dose of 240mg per day for 2 months and then reduce the dose but side effects include headache, skin rashes and nausea.
      • Other herbs: Dong Quai, Ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, Sage, Valerian roots, Agnus Castus, liquorice root, wild yam cream, Progesterone cream (not suitable for endometrial protection), Maca, are popular with women but there is no good evidence for support with menopausal symptoms.
      • Please check with your Dr before taking any herbal medicine or homeopathic medicine and make any specialist you see in these fields aware of your medical history, medications and any supplements or other treatments you take.
    • Homeopathy – consists of the use of minute doses of a medicine which has matching characteristics to the patient’s symptoms, to stimulate healing processes and reduce or eliminate the symptoms and the disorder. We always recommend you see a specialist in order to get safe advice. Society of Homeopaths

The British complementary medicine association

We can talk through the evidence we currently have for all of these methods and guide you to experts to support you in your choices.

This information is for guidance and for you to discuss with us at your appointment or your Dr to see if these might be suitable for you. Dr Carys Sonnenberg Rowena Health

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let us know if you agree to cookies

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Please let us know if you agree to these cookies.

For a complete overview of all cookies used, please see our privacy policy and our cookie policy