Menopausal non-hormone therapy

Easy-to-read information about menopausal non-hormone therapy options.

Some women prefer non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms. It may be particularly useful if you can't take menopausal hormone treatments and lifestyle changes (eg, improving your diet, exercising and stopping smoking) aren't enough to manage your symptoms. Read more about menopause. 

Image: Canva

Examples of non-hormonal treatments

Most non-hormonal treatments only treat hot flushes and night sweats. Examples include:

These medicines differ in their side effects, interactions with other medicines and who they can be prescribed for. This means the suitability of these options will depend on any medical conditions you have, medicines you are taking and the possible side effects. 

These treatments are largely prescribed “off-label”. Off-label means their use outside the specific purpose for which the drug was approved by New Zealand's medicines regulator, Medsafe. Read more about the off label use of medicines. Talk to your doctor or nurse prescriber if you want to explore any of these options.

Do complementary therapies work?

Many women consider using complementary therapies such as phytoestrogens. These oestrogen-like compounds are found in all plants but are in highest quantities in legumes, including beans and soy products. Some women find these compounds helpful, although scientific studies have found them no better than a placebo. A lack of response after 6 weeks should be seen as a reason to stop.

Scientific studies have also found the following to be no better than a placebo: black cohosh, dong quai, evening primrose oil, red clover, ginseng and vitamin E. Due to possible adverse effects on your liver, it is recommended that black cohosh treatment be ceased after 6 months.

All complementary therapies may have side effects and may interact with prescription medicines, so tell your doctor or nurse prescriber if you are using or planning to use these. Read more about complementary and alternative medicine.

References

  1. Non-hormonal treatment options for menopausal symptoms Menopause Australia
  2. Menopausal hormone therapy: where are we now? BPAC, 2019   
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. . Last reviewed: 01 Aug 2022