|For the week of: 10/26/98||by
Dr. Angela S. Martin, M.D.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Womens Medical Group
Question: "I am a 51 year old woman that has been
experiencing some of the symptoms of perimenopause. Are there any natural products that
women like me can use from the health food store to help with hot flashes, night sweats
etc. I really would prefer not to get started on Premarin. I have also understood that if
I do not have a history of heart disease or cancer in my family and that if my menopause
symptoms are not too hard to handle that it would be safe to take something natural. What
do you think?"
Answer: Many women are turning to more natural remedies for the management of menopausal symptoms. These include estrogen and progesterone creams, vitamins and herbal supplements (such as ginseng and gingko biloba), and soy protein which can be a natural source of estrogens.
The interest in soy was the result of studies of Asian women who consume large amounts of soy protein in their diet as compared to American women. Asian women have less menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, thought to be due to soy in their diets.
While these supplements may provide symptomatic relief, there is no evidence they can provide the same health benefits as traditional estrogen replacement. Estrogen can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, (thinning of the bones), heart disease, colon cancer and possibly, Alzheimer's disease.
Fortunately, there are many forms of estrogen replacement as well as alternatives to estrogen in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Calcium is very important- a woman not on estrogen needs 1500mg daily of calcium to keep her bones strong.