A new survey, conducted by the UK-based Women's Nutritional Advisory Service (WNAS), has revealed that increasing numbers of women are opting for a non-drug approach to the treatment of menopausal symptoms.
The survey of 500 women with an average age of 49.8 years shows that treatment with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) alone does not meet the needs of women going through the menopause. Of the natural alternatives, both soya and vitamin E feature strongly as popular choices.
The survey found that 89 per cent of respondents would try a natural alternative to alleviate menopausal symptoms, in contrast to just 32 per cent who would favour taking an HRT product and 50 per cent who would take other medication from their doctor. The most common reason for women not taking HRT was concern about potential dangers such as increased risk of breast cancer, thrombosis and heart disease.
According to the survey results, women found that multi-vitamins or vitamin E supplements were the most effective self-help measures to combat the symptoms of the menopause, with 179 of the 500 respondents considering the vitamins to be 'some help' or 'very helpful'.
Vitamin E has been the focus of numerous studies and articles, which have demonstrated that it is a powerful antioxidant, helping to protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Soy-based products were also a popular choice, with 25 per cent of those questioned taking the product, mostly in the form of soy milk. Soya contains the isoflavones genistein, daidzein and glycitein, the focus of numerous studies in recent times which have shown that they and other phytoestrogens can help women suffering from menopausal symptoms.
The WNAS programme, which is designed for women at the time of passing through the menopause, encourages the adoption of good dietary practices including the incorporation of soya foods, soya isoflavones and other food supplements, exercise regimens, and relaxation techniques.
The WNAS claims that this programme, which has been running successfully for more than 15 years, has helped many women combat symptoms that may be associated with changes that take place during the time of the menopause.
The WNAS survey can be viewed at the organisation's website.