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Alternative therapy – an alternative to HRT

Doctors say that women going in for alternative therapies to treat menopausal symptoms instead of the regular hormone replacement therapy are at the risk of harming themselves.//

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists also cautioned that the therapies may not be very effective. Though, there is some proof that alternative therapies reduce hot flushes, there is also a risk of stomach upset and rashes.

Symptoms of menopause like hot flushes and mood swings can be treated with the traditional HRT. However, the risk of and development a blood clot on the lungs, increases.

This study investigates complementary therapies and their effectiveness in clinical studies. Of the more than 200 existing remedies, valuable scientific research has been conducted on only a few.

Alternative therapies are used along with or instead of HRT by around 40% of the women seeking treatment for menopausal symptoms. A 50 – 60% decrease in symptoms was observed with alternative therapies while traditional HRT showed 80 – 90% decrease, according to the paper.

Therapies like red clover and soy have been studied better than other therapies and they seem to be beneficial in treating symptoms. There was conflicting evidence over others. Oestrogenic compounds - plant forms that mimic the effect of the hormone oestrogen in the body- are found in some of the herbal remedies, which may affect women with breast cancer. 'The herb black cohosh has been associated with liver toxicity and in one case a patient consequently needed a liver transplant after a serious harmful reaction. According to the report, contaminants like mercury, arsenic lead and pesticides are also a cause of concern.

Richard Warren, honorary secretary of the RCOG, said: "The current interest and enthusiasm directed towards alternative treatments for menopausal symptoms is understandable, but the full risks and benefits of these alternatives are still unknow
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