Hormone replacement therapy is one of the most well-evidenced and regulatory-approved treatment options for menopause, but what about natural alternatives?

Many women turn to yoga to treat menopause symptoms, but new research has shown its benefits are limited. A randomized control study, published in the journal Menopause, assigned 107 healthy menopausal women to fulfill 12 weeks of 90-minute yoga classes, 106 women to do exercise, 142 women to go about their usual activity. The study also assigned 177 women to take omega-3 fatty acids, and 178 women formed the placebo group. All participants were asked to keep daily diaries and keep track of the menopausal symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats. At the end of the trial, researchers discovered no statistically significant difference in the frequency of menopausal symptoms; hot flashes and night sweats declined at similar amounts amongst women who did yoga and women went about their usual daily activity.

Yoga still has its benefits, however. Researchers did find that yoga was linked to a decrease in insomnia and better quality sleep, compared with usual activity. This suggests that yoga may be a possible intervention for the insomnia felt by many women undergoing menopause.

The study authors did not identify a link between the omega-3 fatty acids and improvements in menopausal symptoms, and exercise was linked with slight improvement, but not statistically significant, for insomnia and depression. To learn more about lifestyle and alternative treatments for menopause, visit our Northwestern menopause website here.

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