The Best OTC Menopause Drugs

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Women suffering from menopause symptoms are often desperate for relief. Troublesome symptoms include night sweats, mood swings and hot flashes. If you are suffering from these symptoms, your doctor may be able to provide prescription medication, but there are also over the counter (OTC) menopause drugs and herbal remedies. What are the best OTC menopause drugs and how safe are they?

The Facts

  • There are many OTC menopause treatments available, such as herbal supplements and natural estrogens. These products will offer relief from mild menopause symptoms for some women. Most will not work for severe symptoms. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing an OTC remedy is that they are not FDA-regulated for purity or effectiveness.

Types

  • Menopause remedies are often synthesized from wild yams or other plants. An example of a supplement derived from wild yams is DHEA. Some claim that DHEA boosts mood, libido and energy. Other supplements are made from phytoestrogens, which are chemicals found in plants that may act like estrogens found in the body. The food richest in this chemical is soybeans. Supplements containing phytoestrogen include black cohosh and red clover.

Considerations

  • Symptoms of menopause vary widely from one woman to the next. Response to treatment also varies widely among women, so what works for a friend may not work for you. You may need to experiment with different supplements or strategies to find out what supplements or other over-the-counter drugs work for you.

Benefits

  • Many women choose over the counter remedies to avoid side effects of prescription remedies. Different OTC supplements offer relief from different symptoms. Black cohosh relieves hot flashes and improves mood swings in some women. Red clover is an herb originally used by Native Americans to treat cancer and whooping cough. In some women, it relieves hot flashes. St. John's wort may relieve symptoms of depression. Ginkgo biloba may improve symptoms of memory loss that often occur during perimenopause. Valerian helps some women who have menopause-related sleep problems.

Warning

  • When using OTC remedies for menopause, remember that there is no proof that they are safe, or that they are effective. Discuss these products with your doctor before taking them, and be sure to tell him what other medications or supplements you are taking. Some plant products can be harmful, especially when combined with other substances.

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