How can we reduce the discomfort associated with menopause?

 

Hormonal treatment of menopause or HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

Hormonal treatments of menopause or HRT consist in compensating for lack of ovarian secretions among menopausal women by associating an estrogen and a progestin through a variety of medications.

There are more than 10 million menopausal women in France and HRT is prescribed for around 2 million. In the United states, from 15% to 20% of menopausal women benefit from a form of HRT.

While the effectiveness of HRT on climacteric risks and prevention of osteoporosis and fractures has been fully demonstrated since their introduction, several studies have questioned their innocuity.

According to a report on HRT published by the AFSSAPS in September 2005 and an "Information bulletin concerning HRT" by the AFSSAPS in June 2006, women following this type of treatment do so at significant risk.

Indeed, the treatment increases risks of heart disease as well as the likelihood of developing certain cancers, notably breast and endometrial cancer. Finally, HRT contributes to incontinence.

At the same time, the main reasons women abandon HRT are:

  • - Fear of cancer (especially breast and uterine cancer)
  • - Return of menstruations
  • - Lack of information on the pros and cons of such treatments
  • - Unwillingness to take medication
  • - Premenstrual syndrome
  • - Weight gain
  • - Complexity of the treatment

Considering the risks involved and other drawbacks mentioned above, many women are turning today towards alternative medicine and particularly phytotherapy.

 

The use of phytoestrogens

 Progress in scientific research, particularly in the field of phytotherapy, have produced promising results. Researchers have identified a number of plants containing phytoestrogens that could help relieve disorders related to menopause.

Thus, phytoestrogens from soy beans, hops, red clover or flax seeds could help reduce the intensity of vasomotor symptoms observed by menopausal women, without increasing the risk of breast cancer. Concerning liquorice or alfalfa, despite encouraging evidence in vitro or in vivo,  clinical studies on the symptoms associated with menopause have yet to be conducted.

Hops or Humulus lupulus is one of these plants that possess an estrogenic activity. Today we know its active compounds and have studied and confirmed the activity of its structure.