PROVIDENCE, R.I. (UPI) — Herbal treatments for postmenopausal symptoms can be recommended as an alternative to hormonal replacement therapy, a U.S. researcher says.
Review author Iris Tong of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Province, R.I., Rhode Island, said up to 75 percent of women use herbal and complimentary medicines to treat their postmenopausal symptoms.
“Therefore, it is vitally important for healthcare providers to be aware of and informed about the non-pharmacological therapies available for women who are experiencing postmenopausal symptoms and who are looking for an alternative to HRT,” Tong said in a statement.
HRT is the most effective treatment of hot flushes, improving symptoms in 80 percent to 90 percent of women, but there are possible health risks associated with breast cancer, blood clots, stroke and cardiovascular problems, Tong said.
The review, published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, found as many as 50 percent to 75 percent of postmenopausal women used herbal options to treat hot flushes. Complimentary therapies, soy, red clover and black cohosh were most investigated.
Soy, the most common plant containing estrogen — found in food and supplements — was found to reduce hot flush symptoms from 20 percent to 55 percent of women in the studies. Red clover, a legume also containing estrogen, and black cohosh, a plant originating from the eastern United States and Canada, were also reported to ease postmenopausal symptoms.
The author of the review recommended herbal treatments as there are no significant adverse side effects associated with them, as long as they are used in women who do not have a personal history of breast cancer, are not at high risk for breast cancer and are not taking tamoxifen.
However, the review notes that herbal medicines are not regulated in many countries, and therefore the contents of a given product may vary from sample to sample.
People worldwide living longer, but sickerSunday, January 27, 2013 9:15 PMSEATTLE, Jan. 27 (UPI) — The majority of the people in the world live longer, but spend more years in poor health compared to 20 years ago, U.S. researchers say.
Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and colleagues found life expectancy increased in 19 of 21 regions around the world but people are spending their later years living in relatively poor health.
Comparing healthy life expectancy for 187 countries in 1990 and 2010, the researchers were able to evaluate major patterns and trends in global health over two decades.
Gains in healthy life expectancy during the last two decades have been made primarily through reductions in child and adult mortality, rather than reductions in years lived with a disability, the researchers said.
“In the past two decades, there has been less attention toward reducing the impact of non-fatal disease and injury than towards reducing mortality,” Dr. Haidong Wang, professor of global health at IHME, said in a statement. “As the global population is living longer, efforts to improve health need to also incorporate the burden of disease that affects how we function.”
With more people surviving to more advanced ages, there is increased recognition of the need to prioritize healthy aging, the researchers said.
The findings were published in The Lancet.