Some women feel that they should try a more natural approach to treating symptoms before trying hormone therapy. Remember, being “natural” doesn’t always mean safe. Many of these so-called “natural” over-the-counter products have not been tested as rigorously as federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription medications. Despite the claims companies may make, it is not known how useful and safe they are.
Common natural products that some women use for hot flashes are:
- Soy. Soy contains phytoestrogens. These are made from a plant that can act like the estrogen your body makes. There is no clear proof that soy or other sources of phytoestrogens helps with hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. The risks of taking soy products like pills and powders are not known.
- Other sources of plant-derived hormones. These include black cohosh, wild yam, dong quai, and valerian root. There is not enough evidence that any product with these herbs can help with menopause symptoms. Little is known about these products’ risks.
It is important to speak with your doctor about any natural or herbal products you are considering. Many “natural” products may interact in a bad way with other medications you are taking.