Summary

The British Menopause Society Council aims to aid health professionals to inform and advise women about the menopause. This guidance regarding alternative and complementary therapies is in response to the increased use of these strategies by women who believe them to be safer and more ‘natural’. The choice is confusing. Evidence from randomized trials that alternative and complementary therapies improve menopausal symptoms or have the same benefits as hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is poor. A major concern is interaction with other treatments, with potentially fatal consequences. Some preparations may contain estrogenic compounds, and this is a concern for women with hormone-dependent diseases, such as breast cancer. Concern also exists about the quality control of production. While a European Union Directive on traditional herbal medicinal products was implemented in October 2005 in the UK, this will not cover products bought by women outside Europe.

Summary practice points

  • Evidence from randomized trials that alternative and complementary therapies improve menopausal symptoms or have the same benefits as hormone replacement therapy is poor.
  • There is concern about interactions with other treatments, as these may have potentially fatal consequences.
  • Some preparations may contain estrogenic compounds and this is a concern for women with hormone-dependent diseases.
  • A European Union directive on traditional herbal medicinal products will not cover products bought by women outside Europe.

The full statement, scientific papers, charts, presentations etc are available in the Members Area. If you are not a member you can join online.

Date: June 2007