While we are on the subject of finding medications and supplements that can help us… a quick note about using herbal remedies to help alleviate the symptoms of menopause and/or to boost your flagging libido and support your vaginal tissues...
Herbal supplements, for the most part, are developed and marketed in the U.S. as food stuffs. For this reason they do not require clinical studies to test their efficacy or to measure their side effects. They are also not subject to manufacturing rigor that would guarantee their potency. So I can't promise or deny their effectiveness or safety.
At the same time, there is no doubt some of my patients have experienced some relief of their symptoms by using various supplements. Very few of the herbal products designed for menopause support are known to be harmful, and trying them yourself may be the best way to learn of any benefit. It's your body. How these supplements work for you is really the question.
A good way to test their efficacy and safety for you is to keep a symptom journal for a week or so before starting a new supplement, and then for 12 weeks after starting it, tracking the type and severity of your symptoms, and how they change over time. The accepted wisdom for herbal supplements is that 12 weeks is an adequate time to determine whether a supplement will help your symptoms or not.
There are so many supplements out there thought to support us as our hormones are changing. What has been your experience of supportive supplements? Any that have helped you? Any cautionary tales?
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.
One more note. I’ve gotten a lot of help from Andrew Weil’s website, where Dr. Weil and his colleagues and editors keep track of the science behind the supplements. Here’s their list of supplements that women have found helpful in managing menopause symptoms: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00700/menopause-symptoms
Longer trials are better. And certainly better than slaughtering real unicorns for their horns, I’m thinking.
I have not found a cure for night-sweats, but I have found a better pillow. The ISO-Cool pillow really does seem to last longer before it turns into a lump of coal. Spendy, but every little help…
Oh! And I keep a damp washcloth in a bowl next to the bed, and wipe down my inner arms and forehead and neck. For some reason the cool water works better than my own sweat to cool me off.
I know… not a cure at all…
I posted my experience with false unicorn root on Facebook. Maybe I should try it longer as I gave up at maybe 6 or 8 weeks. I’d love to find some relief for night sweats other than sleeping on a sponge.