Category: Menopause and Perimenopause

New Research: Evening primrose oil.

Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) is a commonly used alternative therapy and a rich source of omega-6 essential fatty acids. It is often used for several women’s health conditions, including menopausal and premenstrual symptoms. The current evidence suggests that oral evening primrose oil is likely ineffective for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome and the use of evening primrose oil during pregnancy is not supported in the literature and should be avoided.

Source: American Family Physician, Volume 80, Issue 12, pages 1405-1408, Decemeber 2009.

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Higher Free Radicals and Lower Antioxidants in Perimenopause

In an investigation of the relationship between biochemical parameters and oxidative indicators in perimenopausal women, researchers found that women in perimenopause are under increased oxidative stress.  Women in perimenopause had higher total cholesterol values, their levels of antioxidant enzymes were lower, in addition to carrying a larger load of free radicals (lipoperoxides).  This study would suggest that peri-menopausal and menopausal women may benefit from higher intake of antioxidants through food and/or supplementation.

Source: “Oxidative Stress in Women with Perimenopausal Symptoms,” Zitnanova I, Rakovan M, et al, Menopause, 2011 Sep 15.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Effective for Depression & Hot Flashes at Menopause

A small US study shows promising evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may be effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in women experiencing the menopausal transition.

In addition to depression rating scale scores falling significantly among 19 peri- and postmenopausal women with MDD who took omega-3 fatty acids for 8 weeks, those who also experienced hot flashes before supplementation reported an improvement in the number of hot flashes per day.

Source: Menopause 2011; Advance online publication

Up to 45% of Post Menopausal Women Experience Vaginal Atrophy

Recommendations from the International Menopause Society (IMS) urge doctors to raise the topic of vaginal health with their postmenopausal patients. The recommendations follow recent research, concerning vaginal atrophy (VA), which is experienced by as many as 45 percent of postmenopausal women, only one in four of whom seek medical help. Risk factors for VA include smoking and never having given birth vaginally. Complications of VA include painful intercourse, increased risk of vaginal infection (vaginitis) and increased risk of urinary tract infections.

Source: International Menopause Society