Symptoms

Remedies

Cautions

Irregular Periods & Heavy Bleeding

A daily serving of soy-based foods has beneficial, estrogenlike effects. Natural micronized progesterone, which is synthesized from soybean and/or wild yam (Dioscorea villosa), can help stabilize erratic cycles with fewer side effects than synthetic hormones.

Report heavy bleeding to your doctor. Test blood for anemia. Rule out hypothyroidism, fibroids, polyps and cancer.

Hot Flashes & Night Sweats

Try taking 40 mg (two tablets) of black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) solid extract, plus vitamin E (800 IU/day). Regular exercise and plant-based estrogens may help. One study of standardized extract of red clover (Trifolium pratense) (40 mg/day) showed a 75 percent reduction in hot flashes.

Avoid black cohosh if pregnant or bleeding heavily. Ask your doctor about vitamin E if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, a rheumatic heart condition, or if you are taking anticoagulants or blood thinners.

Sleep Disturbances

Exercise, relaxation techniques, and valerian (Valeriana officinalis) extract help. Avoid caffeine and alcohol after 5 p.m. Taking micronized progesterone half an hour before bed also may help. Several studies show that kava (Piper methysticum) (45 to 70 mg/day) may induce sleep.

Do not take kava with alcohol or antidepressants.

Cognitive Issues (Irritability, forgetfulness, poor concentration)

Try stress reduction techniques, including exercise. Ginseng (Panax ginseng) (100 mg/1­2x per day) has a supportive, estrogenlike effect. Ginkgo biloba extract (30 to 60 drops/3x per day) may improve memory.

None.

Low Libido & Vaginal Dryness

Ginseng (100 mg/1­2x per day) also has tonic properties. Black cohosh solid extract (40 mg/day) may alleviate dryness.

Rule out vaginal infections and low thyroid hormone levels. Avoid black cohosh if pregnant or bleeding heavily.