Natural Remedies For Hot Flashes and Menopause

Treatment for Menopause and Perimenopause.

Lignans may be one of the best natural menopause treatments available. As a phytoestrogen, they can decrease uncomfortable menopause symptoms (1). Not only are they one of the best natural remedies for hot flashes and other symptoms, they are effective in treating women undergoing perimenopause as well. This is a result of the lignan's hormone balancing tendencies. They can aid in treating menstrual irregularity and they not only reduce the frequency of hot flashes, but they also reduce their intensity. Before the onset of menopause, women may experience perimenopause symptoms. Perimenopause, sometimes referred to as premenopause, is a transitioning period and can happen several years before the onset of menopause. As time goes on, a woman’s ovaries will gradually produce less and less estrogen. Lignans help to restore the balance as the body undergoes such changes.

Normal Endocrine Function. In a normal person or dog the pituitary gland produces ACTH which stimulates the adrenal glands telling them to produce cortisol. Cortisol is a vital hormone in the body which affects numerous bodily functions.

Symptoms of Perimenopause and Menopause

Perimenopausal symptoms can include mood changes, menstrual irregularity, hot flashes, difficulty sleeping and a decrease in fertility. Menopause symptoms can begin as the decline in estrogen production becomes greater. Menopausal symptoms can include hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, decreased libido, dryness of the mouth, vaginal dryness and trouble sleeping. Also with menopause comes the complete cessation of menstruation. Lignans are among the best natural remedies for both perimenopause and menopause. Lignans are among the best natural remedies for both perimenopause and menopause (2). Postmenopause occurs in the years following menopause.

Lignans and Natural Hormone Replacement

It is possible that energy and emotional levels may be stabilized, but the lower estrogen levels put women at risk for heart disease or osteoporosis. In some cases, estrogen levels may actually increase with menopause or in post menopause. Lignans can help women in this stage of life due to their ability to balance hormones and raise natural estrogen levels by competing with progesterone. When too much estrogen is present, lignans, which mimic estrogen, bind to estrogen receptors and excess endogenous levels of estrogen are then excreted from the body either though urine or the bowels. When not enough estrogen is present, the lignans also bind to estrogen receptors and exert their weak estrogenic effects, augmenting a woman’s low level of estrogen. Lignans (phytoestrogens) can be used as a natural hormone replacement treatment and much safer than conventional hormone replacement treatments.

Studies have shown that lignans can be very effective as a natural menopause treatment because, as a phytoestrogen, plant lignans can safely alleviate menopause symptoms without the use of chemicals (5). Out of all menopause symptoms, one of the greatest changes that lignan users have reported is the reduction of hot flashes (both intensity and frequency). What causes hot flashes is the reduction of estrogen, which may upset the functioning of the hypothalamus (the body’s temperature regulator). It has been reported that, thanks to their regulation of hormones, they can decrease hot flashes by over 50%. Lignans are a natural way to regulate hormone changes during menopause and in doing so, they can lighten other menopause symptoms such as night sweats, thus providing significant menopause relief. A recent clinical study that set out to determine whether or not lignans can be effective in treating menopause symptoms found that lignans can reduce hot flashes in as little as four weeks.

Natural Menopausal Relief

Just 3 capsules of flaxseed hulls per day provide 99 mg of flaxseed lignans, which supply the body with ample hormone balancing effects. A mere 3 capsules are sufficient to increase lignan levels in the body to levels equivalent to test subjects. Lignans mimic estrogen in a natural and pure way so naturally occurring estrogen is much safer for the body. Increasing fluid levels along with the lignans is also highly recommended to achieve maximum relief.

Studies and Research

A Mayo clinic study shows that, "lignans provide a more natural estrogen treatment for menopause and hot flashes than synthetic hormone therapy and therefore are a potentially healthier treatment for both." Sandhya Pruthi, MD. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Published February 1, 2008 (3)

An Italian study also found that lignans, as a phytoestrogen, can have a positive effect on bone loss and that a steady intake of fiber (which flaxseed lignans provide) may naturally decrease cholesterol in women who are postmenopausal, in addition to their many other benefits. (4)

In another Mayo Clinic study, women experiencing hot flashes took flaxseed (high in lignans) for six weeks. At the end of the study, they reported better moods, decreased sweating and a lessening of joint pain. They also reported that the amount of hot flashes they had been experiencing, as well as the severity, was cut in half.

Another recent study on the diets of Asian populations versus the diets of western populations reported that the Asian population, with a diet rich in phytoestrogens, had a considerably decreased rate of menopause symptoms, osteoporosis and hormone-dependent cancers compared to westerners.

1. Adlercreutz H, Hamalainen E, Gorbach S, Goldin B: Dietary phyto-oestrogens and the menopause in Japan. Lancet 1992;339:1233.

2. Israel D, Youngkin EQ. Herbal therapies for perimenopausal and menopausal complaints. Pharmacotherapy.1997;17:970-984.

3. Sandhya Pruthi, MD. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Published February 1, 2008

Borrelli FErnst E. Alternative and Complementary therapies for menopause. 2010.

5. Weil Valerie P, Cirigliano Michael D, Battistini Michelle. Herbal Treatments for Symptoms of Menopause. Clinical Perspectives in Complementary Medicine. 2000.