These natural remedies for menopause symptoms really work according to real women who have tried and recommended them. See what real women have to say about how effective remedies like Black Cohosh, Maca Root Powder, Diindolylmethane, and Soy really are and what diet and lifestyle changes really bring relief.
This is part of an on-going series on Midlife Rambler, Real Talk about Menopause. Too many of us (including myself) don’t fully understand what’s happening and don’t know where to go to for accurate information. I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice but I’m hoping to provide some of the information I wish I had known when I went through menopause and give you some resources to check out if you want to learn more.
More Real Talk About Menopause
I was in my late 40s when I first started having menopausal symptoms and for quite a while, they really weren’t too bad, just kinda …. annoying. I’d wake up in the middle of the night burning up and unable to quickly get back to sleep, but I wasn’t having the typical hot flashes that I’d later come to know and love.
I discussed my symptoms with my doctor and she said that I probably wasn’t a candidate for Hormonal Replacement Therapy just yet and then gave me a printed handout of natural supplements that could help my symptoms.
I tried a few of her suggestions, but the only thing that gave me any relief at all was taking a Valerian supplement each night and that wasn’t even mentioned on the handout! Valerian helped me sleep and seemed to help with I called my “hot spells.”
Eventually, the valerian stopped working, my “hot spells” turned into full-blown hot flashes and, after consulting with my doctor, I started on Hormone Replacement Therapy. (Here’s my post about my experience.) But I appreciated the Valerian while it was working for me.
That’s the problem, though, isn’t it? Every article about natural supplements to use during menopause and perimenopause is about as useful as that printed handout from my doctor – just a list of things that “might help.”
That’s why it can be so helpful to get real advice from real women who’ve been there. You can hear from the source what helped and why. So I did some research on Reddit to see what real women are saying helped them. Here’s a list of what I found and some helpful information.
Not every remedy will work for the menopause symptoms of every woman! And you’ll want to do your own research and discuss any options with your doctor. This list is simply to give you a starting point for your research. Always, always check out any recommendation with your doctor before you try it to make sure it’s not harmful and right for you.
Helpful Supplements for Natural Menopause Symptom Relief
1. Maca Root Powder
The maca plant is grown in the Andes in Central Peru and is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng. It’s highly nutritious and related to broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Some studies have indeed supported the claims that it can help relieve menopause symptoms. It’s typically taken as a powder, which people add to smoothies or coffee, but can also be available as a capsule or pill.
“Started it a couple weeks ago and my hot flashes are much more manageable + my sex drive has returned. I dump a tbsp in a (keto friendly) smoothie almost every afternoon and it really seems to be working. It is the only new thing I have added to my rather lengthy daily regimen (sleep, meditation, supps, yoga, IF, etc)”LOUDERHARDERFASTER
For More Info: 9 Benefits of Maca Root (and Potential Side Effects)
2. Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh is a flowering herb, native to Eastern North America, that has been used for many hundreds of years to help ease menstrual issues, childbirth pain, and menopause symptoms. It’s thought to reduce symptoms related to a reduction in estrogen (which is why it’s helpful to know what’s going with your hormones at any given time) and seems to provide only short term relief. However, it can a godsend for the women to whom it provides relief. Note: several women mentioned that black cohosh increased the severity and frequency of their migraines so check with your doctor before taking if you’re prone to migraines.
“I started taking Estroven Maximum Strength and the main ingredient is Cohash and a 10mg Melatonin and it’s been a huge relief for me.”Jenson6
“I have to recommend black cohosh. Do your research to make sure it doesn’t cross-react with your meds or negatively affect conditions you have. It was a godsend for me. Also!! Fish oil, believe it or not, has been noted to have a positive effect on parents who yell at their kids, so give that a try! It does help my mood.”GETitOFFmeNOW
For More Info: Uses and side effects of black cohosh for menopause
3. Soy Isoflavones
Soy isoflavones are the chemicals in the soybeans that act as a weaker form of estrogen in the body. If you are using soy isoflavones for menopause symptom relief, you’ll typically use a soy supplement rather than relying on increasing your consumption of soy-based foods, simply because it can be too difficult to get enough soy consistently from food sources to relieve symptoms from menopause.
For More Info: Does Soy Help with Menopause Symptoms?
“Soy Isoflavones have really helped me. I was such a moody bitch before. I take a supplement called Menopause Support made by A Vogel. What can I say, it’s been a miracle worker for me. No more mood swings and no more hot flushes! Nearly ran out last week so ordered in some more as I’m terrified to be without it! Wish you luck :)”LazyBeach
Diindolylmethane is generated when the body breaks down a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and kale. (If you’ll remember, maca root is also a cruciferous vegetable so let’s all be sure to eat all our broccoli!) Diindolylmethane supplements are said to help your body metabolize estrogen.
There’s not a lot of reliable information about Diindolylmethane available and how and why it works. This article seems to explain the current thinking about why it works, but anecdotal evidence does seem to suggest that, at least for some women, it can be helpful.
“I have been taking it for almost a month. I have had less insomnia, night sweats, and break outs. Be prepared, it may give you a headache for the first couple of days and can turn your pee a dark color, like when you eat beets. Give it time to settle in.medeacroy9
The brand I use is Smoky Mountain Naturals. They sent me a pdf with all of the product information listed. I’m not sure why it changes your pee. But it is listed as a harmless side effect.”
“I take it religiously. I’m not sure if it’s a placebo effect, but I really feel it helps with the crazy mood swings and hot flashes.”Janetsbreeze
“I have been taking it for a little over a year and have noticed a big difference. ”GSDLVR76
5. Wild Yam Cream
Wild yam cream is derived from an inedible Mexican yam. This yam contains a chemical called diosgenin, which is converted in a lab to estrogen and DHEA. There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to support the use of wild yam creams to ease menopausal symptoms, but some women do say it helps.
For More Info: What are the health benefits of wild yam?
“I can’t do HRT because my hormones have always been whack, and my doctors and I have learned to fear messing with them in any way, so I’m on the going-it-natural train with you. I do use a wild yam cream that has helped the hot flashes hugely.”SnakeoilSales
6. Estrovera (Herbal Supplement with Rhapontic Rhubarb Root Extract)
Estrovera is the brand name of a supplement containing Rhubarb extract. Many women say these offer significant relief from hot flashes.
For More Info: Rhubarb May Cool Hot Flashes
“Estrovera is a great product for hot flashes. It is more popular in Europe. I was using it for months, decided to stop, and hot flashes returned in about a week. I’m also taking DHEA, as well as progesterone cream, but the Estrovera seems specific for hot flashes.”Sacca7
Dietary Changes That Reduced or Eliminated Menopause Symptoms
7. Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol
As we age, our bodies tend to be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Many women report that after cutting down or cutting out alcohol, their menopause symptoms were significantly reduced.
For More Info: Can You Drink During Menopause?
“I don’t have much tolerance for alcohol anymore. Used to be I could drink a bottle of wine on a Friday night (probably not a good idea but whatever) and be fine after a coffee the next morning. These days if I have a couple of glasses I wake in the night with my heart racing and flip-flopping all over the place and it lasts a couple of hours, then in the morning I feel like I’ve been on a weekend bender.”Poorviolet
“I had to give up drinking 100%. The hangovers from one drink were bad enough but then the anxiety was crippling. After a few weeks of abstinence, I no longer missed it. Now I see booze and am not even a little tempted. I have a few friends, same age, who have the same symptoms I did but are somehow powering through it and still drinking. Bless their hearts – I am too much a wimp.”Louderharderfaster
8. Cut down (or Eliminate) Refined Sugar
High blood sugar has been shown to increase hot flashes in women and refined sugar causes your blood sugar to spike rapidly. Cutting way down or even eliminating refined sugar can work wonders with menopausal symptoms. (It’s definitely helped me.)
For More Info: Menopause Diet: How What You Eat Affects Your Symptoms
“I have some peri-menopausal – symptoms that you described but not consistently – and there are two things that help immensely – clean diet with little added sugar (I have lots of fruit) and sleep. Especially sleep. Makes a huge difference for me.”JustALittleNoodle
“Cutting back on sugars really helped bit me and my dad. Yup, my dad. He had hormone therapy for prostate cancer which suppressed his testosterone and basically put him in menopause.BitchLibrarian
So try cutting back on white carbs and sugars including alcohol. It really does seem to help, so much so that when I drink alcohol now I get sugar sweats.”
9. Go Low Carb
Menopause can actually decrease our insulin sensitivity, which can exacerbate hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Reducing carbs can help your body handle insulin better, thus improving your menopause symptoms.
For More Info: Can the Keto Diet Help with Menopause?
“What has helped me was switching to a ketogenic diet. Within one week the hot flashes were gone. I am now low carb and are still fine. Maybe worth a try. Keto affects hormone levels by lowering insulin. Somehow this also impacted my other hormones it seems.”karena15
“All of my perimenopause symptoms have virtually disappeared since starting a keto lifestyle 8 months ago. No more hot flashes and most importantly, my insomnia is gone and my sleeping patterns are back to normal. I went back to eating carbs over Christmas and again at Easter and my symptoms came back both times. Low- carb life has brought the most relief of my menopausal symptoms.”monkey_bean
10. CBD and Marijuana
CBD Supplements and/or Marijuana were, by far, the most recommended products for reducing symptoms of menopause and perimenopause.
If you want to try marijuana for your symptoms, you’ll need to live in a state where medical marijuana usage is legal.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound from the cannabis plant that is separate from its better-known cousin, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Unlike THC, CBD won’t get you high, but the chemical can promote a feeling of well-being and relaxation.
Some CBD products also contain THC and so these are legal only in states where medical and/or recreational marijuana is legal. If a CBD product does not contain, it’s legal in many (but not all) states.
For More Info: How marijuana’s CBD can help with menopause symptoms
CBD has been a godsend for me. I take an edible at bedtime and it helps me sleep a bit better and the calming effect persists for quite a while after I wake up. My back hurts a lot less too. I was super skeptical at first but man, I’m a convert now.ipsquibibble
“I buy medicated gummies (Michigan, USA) that are 100mg per package. From there I use a kitchen knife to cut down into individual (approximate) 10mg doses. 10mg about an hour before bedtime lets me get all the THC / CBD benefits without overmedicating. My bedtime hot flashes and night sweats are almost completely gone – unless I forgot my “special meds”. I originally was taking the cannabis for sleep and the benefits to my menopausal symptoms was a very happy coincidence.”bibliotequeneaux
“I discovered in the fall of 2016 when I took a tolerance break [I’m a medical cannabis user] that my menopause symptoms returned in full force. I have chronic insomnia and arthritis and I take THC Indica at night which helps me sleep and CBD during the day for pain. I think the combination of the two really makes a huge difference. By taking the THC at night you sleep through the high and the munchies.”Angelcake
If you’re looking for support and advice, during your menopause journey, be sure and check out r/Menopause on Reddit. You’ll find a knowledgable, supportive community filled with women who are in the same phase of life.
Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.