Review of alternative therapies for treatment of menopausal symptoms.
ABSTRACT Many women use alternative therapies to treat hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. The purpose of this review is to summarize current information on the efficacy and safety of phytoestrogens and the herbal medicine black cohosh. A preponderance of evidence indicates that phytoestrogens are ineffective in treating hot flushes. Trials of black cohosh, many of which are small, of limited duration and of poor methodological quality, provide conflicting results, and at present it is unclear whether black cohosh is more effective than placebo. Although phytoestrogens and black cohosh appear to be safe when used for short periods of time, much larger and longer studies are needed to detect infrequent but potentially serious adverse events. Women who do not wish to take hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms should be encouraged to consider using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other conventional therapeutic options.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L., syn. Cimicifuga racemosa, Nutt., Ranunculaceae) is a popular herb used for relieving menopausal discomforts. A variety of secondary metabolites, including triterpenoids, phenolic dimers, and serotonin derivatives have been associated with its biological activity, but the genes and metabolic pathways as well as the tissue distribution of their production in this plant are unknown. A gene discovery effort was initiated in A. racemosa by partial sequencing of cDNA libraries constructed from young leaf, rhizome, and root tissues. In total, 2,066 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were assembled into 1,590 unique genes (unigenes). Most of the unigenes were predicted to encode primary metabolism genes, but about 70 were identified as putative secondary metabolism genes. Several of these candidates were analyzed further and full-length cDNA and genomic sequences for a putative 2,3 oxidosqualene cyclase (CAS1) and two BAHD-type acyltransferases (ACT1 and HCT1) were obtained. Homology-based PCR screening for the central gene in plant serotonin biosynthesis, tryptophan decarboxylase (TDC), identified two TDC-related sequences in A. racemosa. CAS1, ACT1, and HCT1 were expressed in most plant tissues, whereas expression of TDC genes was detected only sporadically in immature flower heads and some very young leaf tissues. The cDNA libraries described and assorted genes identified provide initial insight into gene content and diversity in black cohosh, and provide tools and resources for detailed investigations of secondary metabolite genes and enzymes in this important medicinal plant.Plant Cell Reports 12/2010; 30(4):613-29. · 2.51 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: CONFLICT OF INTEREST: none declared. The balance of endocrine and autocrine activity usually starts to fade after age of 45 years in women. This is particularly true for the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance creates a number of clinical syndromes and disorders. The goal of the study is to determine the effects of phytoestrogens on the psychological, somatic-vegetative and urogenital symptoms of menopause. The study included 275 respondents who are more than three in menopause. Respondents were taking commercially available phytoestrogens, in duration of 12 months. Review of clinical and epidemiological studies showing different results regarding effects of phytoestrogens on menopausal symptoms. In our study there was a significant reduction of somatic-vegetative and psychological symptoms under the influence of phytoestrogens, while urogenital symptomatology was not significantly changed. We recommend the use of phytoestrogens in early postmenopausal women with moderate symptoms.Materia Socio Medica 01/2013; 25(2):98-100.
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Debilitating hot flushes and sleep dysfunction often affect survivors of breast cancer, most notably in those taking anti-oestrogen medications. Conventional treatments have been only partially effective in diminishing these issues, and some have serious risks. We did a pilot study to investigate our hypothesis that stellate-ganglion block can be a safe and effective treatment for hot flushes and sleep dysfunction in this patient population. 13 survivors of breast cancer (in remission) with severe hot flushes and night awakenings were treated with stellate-ganglion block at the anterolateral aspect of the C6 vertebra on the right side under fluoroscopy. Patients recorded hot flushes in a daily diary by use of the Hot-Flash Score, devised by Sloan and colleagues, and night awakenings by use of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Both instruments were used 1 week before the procedure [A40] and then weekly after the procedure for 12 weeks. We used the generalised-estimating-equations method to analyse the longitudinal measurements of the number of hot flushes and night awakenings over time. This method is a popular approach to analysing datasets that have repeated measures from the same person, and is robust because it does not need the complete distribution of the outcomes to be specified. This trial is registered on the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number register (ISRCTN14318565). There were no adverse events resulting from the stellate-ganglion block, although patients had temporary Horner's syndrome indicating the effectiveness of the block. Five patients had only one stellate-ganglion block and eight had two stellate-ganglion blocks. The total number of hot flushes decreased from a mean of 79.4 (SD 37.4) per week before the procedure to a mean of 49.9 (SD 39.9) per week during the first 2 weeks after the procedure (p=0.0002). The total number of hot flushes continued to decrease over the remaining follow-up period (weeks 3-12), and stabilised at a mean of 8.1 (SD 5.6) per week (p<0.0001). The number of very severe hot flushes was decreased to near zero by the end of the follow-up period (week 12; p<0.0001). Night awakenings decreased from a mean of 19.5 (SD 14.8) per week before the procedure to a mean of 7.3 (SD 7.1) per week during the first 2 weeks after the procedure (p<0.0001). The total number of night awakenings continued to decrease over the remaining follow-up period (weeks 3-12) and stabilised at a mean of 1.4 (SD 1.2) per week (p<0.0001). The findings of this study suggest that stellate-ganglion block can provide survivors of breast cancer with relief from hot flushes and sleep dysfunction with few or no side-effects. Long-term relief of symptoms has the potential to improve overall quality of life and increase compliance with anti-oestrogen medications for breast cancer.The lancet oncology 06/2008; 9(6):523-32. · 14.47 Impact Factor