In a perfect world, menopause treatments would make all your symptoms vanish without causing a single side effect. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While treatments may offer relief from your symptoms, they can often come with side effects or an increased risk of developing other conditions. Educating yourself about these potential side effects and accompanying risks is important when making decisions about your treatment plan.
Continue reading to learn more about menopause treatment side effects, including hormone therapy side effects, so that you can make the best decision for your transforming reproductive health.
Side Effects of Herbal Supplements
In recent years, more and more women have turned to herbs to curb their menopausal symptoms. Instead of introducing synthetic estrogens into the body, herbal supplements for menopause contain plant-based estrogens (called phytoestrogens) that help restore hormone balance.
Popular herbs used to treat menopause symptoms include: black cohosh, dong quai, St. John's wort, valerian, evening primrose oil, red clover, and soy.
However, because phytoestrogenic herbs introduce outside estrogens into the body, their prolonged usage is discouraged (more than six months), especially since possible interactions and side effects have not been determined for most herbs, and the amount of herbal product as well as its quality and purity may vary. Also, the body may become accustomed to the exogenous hormones and produce less of its own hormones.
It is known, however, that the following herbal supplements have the following documented against them:
- Black cohosh: side effects of rashes, gastrointestinal discomfort (vomiting, stomach pain), lower blood pressure, headaches, uterine contractions, joint pain, slower heart rate, light headedness; contraindicated for women who are pregnant or breast feeding, those with liver problems
- Dong quai: contraindicated for those with blood-clotting problems or taking blood-clotting medications
- Red clover: side effects of headaches, myalgia, nausea
- Valerian: side effects of headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, nausea
- St. John's wort: interactions with anticoagulants, cyclosporine, digoxin, and protease inhibitors
- Evening primrose oil: should not be used with anticoagulants or phenothiazines
Hormone Replacement Therapy Side Effects
One of the most popular menopause treatments available is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT works to curb symptoms and restore hormone balance by introducing synthetic hormones into the body. These hormones generally come in the form of estrogen-only or estrogen-plus-progestin (synthetic progesterone).
There are a number of hormone therapy side effects, which include:
- Cramped or bloated stomach
- Hair loss
- Joint pain
- Weight gain
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Fluid retention
- Breast tenderness
Additionally, most experts recommend that HRT treatments are taken at the lowest possible dosage and that progress is monitored regularly. Introducing foreign hormones - especially estrogens - into the female body has been linked with increased instances of breast cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Is There a Way to Beat the Side Effects?
One way to escape the side effects of menopause treatments is to pursue more basic menopause treatments that start by making simple lifestyle changes to help restore hormone balance. Maintaining a regular exercise regimen and upholding a well-balanced diet rich in wholesome foods are advisable as first steps for bolstering your endocrine system and energy levels.
Then, consider the use of hormone-regulating supplements, like Macafem, that nourish and stimulate the endocrine glands to produce their own hormones without dangerous side effects.
The symptom-free, hormonally balanced life that you've been yearning is just one step away. Take charge of your reproductive health today!
- Breastcancer.org. (n.d.). Study Looks at Black Cohosh and Risk. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20070426c
- Cancer Research UK. (2015). Black cohosh | Side effects of hormone therapy in women. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/black-cohosh | https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/hormone-therapy/side-effects-women
- Geller, S.E. & Studee, L. (2005). Botanical and Dietary Supplements for Menopausal Symptoms: What Works, What Doesn't. Journal of Women's Health, 14(7), 634-649. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2005.14.634
- The North American Menopause Society. (n.d.). Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes. Retrieved November 30, 2018, from http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/menopause-symptoms-and-treatments/natural-remedies-for-hot-flashes