Menopause: This is the best oil to take to relieve symptoms, not just hot flashes

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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A new study has identified how supplementing with a specific oil can alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause

A new study has identified how supplementing with a specific oil can alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause

With the term menopause it indicates the natural decline in the production of female reproductive hormones, and the termination of a woman's menstrual cycles. It usually begins in their 40s or 50s, and for some women, it is a painful and irritating time. Some researchers have identified a oil-based supplement which is able to help treat symptoms.

Recall that the common symptoms menopause include: 

  • hot flashes
  • vaginal dryness
  • chills
  • night sweats
  • weight gain
  • irregular menstruation
  • labile moods
  • decreased sexual desire
  • poor sleep
  • bone loss
  • headache
  • anxiety and depression

As this is a natural process, treatments focus primarily on symptom management. A variety of medications are available, but the risk of side effects leads many women to use alternative therapies together with or instead of conventional ones. Of course, it's a good idea to consult with your GP before adding any supplements to your routine. (Read also: Menopause: 15 most common symptoms)


Herbs and supplements for menopause

Herbs and supplements are commonly used for manage symptoms of menopause. One of these is theevening primrose oil, or primrose, a supplement that can reduce the symptoms of menopause and relieve pain. The flowering plant is native to central and eastern North America, and its seed oil is often used to treat symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and bone loss.

However, the results of the study are quite contrasting: on the one hand it was found that the oil was no more effective than a placebo in mitigating hot flashes, on the other hand, it was about 10% more effective in reducing the severity of hot flashes than to a placebo.

A separate review also compared a calcium supplement and a combined supplement of evening primrose oil, calcium, and omega-3s to stop bone loss in pre- and postmenopausal women. Both groups maintained bone mineral density, but the oil supplement was no more effective than calcium.

How to take evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is available in the form of a gel cap and bottled oil. Experts suggest that adults take 500 mg per day, however patients should consult a doctor before using the oil; for this reason, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking any supplement, even if it is natural.

Possible contraindications and side effects

Short-term use of the oil is generally safe for most adults, and reported side effects are rare, but can include nausea and stomach pain.

Evening primrose oil can negatively interact with some HIV medications; therefore, it is always wise to speak to your doctor before taking this supplement, especially if you are taking any other supplements or medications.

In addition to evening primrose oil, soybeans also boast a rich supply of isoflavones and are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen, they can exert weak estrogenic effects in the body. Lot of common symptoms of menopause are linked to a drop in these hormones. Therefore, it is believed that soy helps relieve symptoms thanks to its endocrine characteristics. On the other hand, it is not recommended, however, in cases where you have thyroid problems.

Studies associate a high soy intake with a low incidence of hot flashes, but very few large-scale clinical trials show significant benefits.

A recent review of 95 studies in menopausal women found thatsupplementation with soy isoflavones it could favorably affect bone health, as well as the frequency and duration of hot flashes. However, specific results cannot be guaranteed. Soy-based foods are very safe and generally useful, as long as you don't have an allergy; even in this case, however, some undesirable effects have been identified, such as stomach pain and diarrhea.

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