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Natural remedies helping you manage your menopause

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No one ever said menopause was easy. And, for a lot of women it definitely isn't. But, there are some natural products on the market that may help ease night sweats, mood swings and hot flashes.

The FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin is here to help you with what to look for at your local health food store and drug store. They're both packed with herbs and supplements that promise to relieve symptoms.

So, Galvin asked a doctor for her expert advice on what you should look for before you buy.

Emory Internist Dr. Sharon Horesh-Bergquist says a lot of her patients don't want a prescription fix for their menopause symptoms. She says that's okay with her.

"Usually for women who don't want to take hormone replacement therapy, I think using supplements, certainly as a first-line approach, is often effective. And for the majority of women, that's just enough to take the edge off their symptoms, and improve their quality of life," the doctor said.

For night sweats and hot flashes, the doctor says she recommends black cohosh. It's an herb from the buttercup family and the active ingredient in many menopause supplements.

She said, "Nobody really knows how black cohosh works. There have been a lot of studies. None of these studies are enough to make it FDA-approved, but they do show that it is helpful in a significant proportion of patients."

Soy can also ease hot flashes. But, many of these products haven't been widely studies. If they have, the results are mixed. Still, the doctor says they're pretty and will hopefully help.

She said, "For sleep, melatonin can be effective.  Ginko can help with some of the memory changes that come with menopause.  For just a general sense of well being and mood, ginseng can be a good choice.  St. John's wort can also help with some of the mood irritability."

And, one of the best ways to find relief isn't a pill? It's exercise.

"I think everybody should incorporate exercise into their daily routine.  Even if it's five minutes here, 10 minutes there, it all adds up and it all makes a difference," she said.

It's still worth talking to your doctor because there can be interactions between medications. Some medications are broken down in the body the same way as prescription drugs are.

These herbs and supplements are natural, but they're still drugs. They can cause side effects or interact with other medications just like any other drug.

If you are going to use of these natural products, then make sure you discuss it with your doctor to make sure it's safe to you.


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