Complementary and alternative therapy for menopausal symptoms

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Mickie Griffith-Autry, PhD, NP-C

Mickie Griffith-Autry Article


Complementary and alternative therapy for menopause addressed includes botanicals (herb therapy) and acupuncture. Menopausal women need to be aware of these various forms of therapy in order to address their questions and concerns with their health care provider.

Botanicals (herb therapy) include such therapies as tea infusions, essential oils, dried extracts, and tinctures. Many of these therapies are popular among women who can not take traditional hormone therapy. It has been estimated that 27 billion dollars are spent per year on such therapies. Examples of this type of therapy include Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Dong Quai, and Evening Primrose. 

Black Cohosh also known as squawroot is widely used in Germany and England. It is believed that black cohosh binds to estrogen receptors. The FDA approved preparation of black cohosh is marketed as Remifemin. The primary indication for taking this include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disorders, and anxiety.

Red Clover can be taken orally or drank in tea. The research does not support using red clover for hot flashes or night sweats. Red clover can cause bleeding and should not be used in conjunction with medications that affect the blood.

Dong Quai is very popular in Korea and China. It is frequently offered to women with menstrual complaints such as irregularities. The major components of dong quai are vitamin B12 and vitamin E.

Evening Primrose is derived from a plant. The most common uses of evening primrose is for the treatment of premenstrual symptoms, bladder complaints, and hot flashes.

Botanical use has limited evidence of the benefit of use. Limited research is available to support the benefit, side effects, or long -term use.

Acupuncture treatment is believed to help restore chi energy. In this therapy, small needles are inserted underneath the skin. Different sites of insertion are used for different conditions. Some conditions treated with acupuncture include menstrual irregularities, fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, low back pain, and hot flashes.


The treatment of menopausal symptoms is addressed in many ways. It is important that an individualized plan be researched and modified for unique menopausal woman.




Ms. Autry earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Jacksonville State University, her Masters of Science degree in nursing from the University of Alabama Huntsville, and her PhD from Walden University. Her research dissertation was entitled Pelvic muscle strengthening: Impact on sexual functioning in the menopausal woman. Ms. Autry is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nursing Credentialing Center, and the Certification Board for Urological Nurses and Associates. She has completed multiple postgraduate preceptor programs in female sexual medicine, pelvic pain, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Ms. Autry is an active member of the Society of Urological Nurse Associates, North American Menopause Society, American Urological Society, and the International Pelvic Pain Society and founder of two women's health support groups. She is a national and local speaker for multiple pharmaceutical and medical companies, has participated in clinical trial studies, and has published articles in the Society of Urological Nurse Associate and North American Menopause Society journals.


Mickie Griffith-Autry, PhD, NP-C



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