It can be hard to find information about menopause supplements. On one end, there are wellness influencers touting the benefits of a range of menopause aids said to “cure” menopause and the aging process. On the other end, medical doctors don’t seem to have much information at all on whether supplements might help with menopause symptoms.
We get it, it’s hard. That’s why we’ve tried to do some of the leg work for you to find out what supplements can help relieve some of your menopause symptoms.
The important thing to know before researching menopause supplements is that menopause is not a disease. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s a totally normal life change. The only reason to take menopause supplements is if your menopause symptoms are bothering you. Menopause itself does not require treatment or supplementation.
So before we get started, what even is menopause?
Menopause is a specific moment in time that is 12 months after your last period. The time before that is called perimenopause and may begin a few years before you hit menopause. The time after menopause is called post-menopause.
As hormonal shifts happen in your body (specifically of estrogen and progesterone) you may experience symptoms. About 85% of women do.
Perimenopause commonly starts in your 40s but can begin earlier. About 5% of women go through menopause early (as in, before 45 years old). If you think this is you, check in with your doctor as you may experience some added health issues, such as unusually strong menopause symptoms that include mental health challenges.
We’ll say it again: menopause – and aging in general – is natural. We are meant to stop ovulating and stop producing estrogen. Just because you’re going through menopause does not mean there is something wrong with your body that needs to be cured.
But what if your symptoms are bothering you and you’d like some relief? One option you’ve probably heard of is Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), which does help alleviate symptoms for a lot of people. Note, we said “alleviate symptoms,” not turn back the clock 30 years.
These drugs do come with the possibility of serious side effects and are not a good idea for those who have:
- Bleeding disorders.
- A high risk of blood clots or strokes.
- Breast or uterine cancer.
- Liver disease.
- Any allergies to hormone medicine.
The FDA has also approved two non-hormonal medicines for the treatment of menopause symptoms:
- For hot flashes: Brisdelle (paroxetine)
- For vaginal dryness and/or pain during or after sex: OSPHENA
What is the best natural hormone replacement for menopause?
“Natural” menopause supplements can be a tricky area to navigate. Many of these products are not properly researched and tested. Not only are many of them not helpful, but they may even be harmful. In particular, if a doctor (or health or wellness practitioner) is both making money off a product and recommending it, think twice.
What are the best supplements for menopause?
There is some evidence that, for some individuals, plant estrogen (sometimes called phytoestrogen) can mimic what our own estrogen does and may be useful in treating hot flashes.
Taking a good multivitamin can also be helpful in keeping your nutrition up during this phase of life. Some vitamin companies make specific “menopause vitamins” for women 50 years and older, which might be a good option for you. These are some of the extra vitamins and minerals you might need after menopause:
- Calcium is a defense against bone loss. The goal is to get to about 1300 mg a day, either through the food you eat or with a combo of food and supplements. More than this could carry a risk of heart disease.
- Vitamin D also works against bone loss—but again, monitor your intake. Too much can cause heart and kidney issues. The recommended daily amount for women under 70 is 600 IU.
- Vitamin Bs are good for cognitive function and may help with mood stabilization. There’s also some research to suggest that Vitamin B-9 (folate) may help with hot flashes.
- Omega 3s may help you if you are experiencing depressive symptoms.
Then there are other kinds of menopause pills (and powders and tinctures) that include herbs and other substances said to help menopause symptoms. Some of the more popular ingredients in natural remedies for menopause include:
- Black cohosh.
- Evening primrose oil.
- Valerian root.
- Dong Quai.
While these natural supplements for menopause may work for some women, the efficacy is not totally clear. Before you take any of these supplements, make sure to research them thoroughly and ideally discuss your situation with a naturopathic doctor who is familiar with these substances.
What is the best over the counter treatment for menopause?
There are some over-the-counter treatments that might help with some common menopause symptoms. Here are some options:
- For sleep trouble: Melatonin works for some women. Meditation apps, daily exercise, and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol can also help. Mix it up to see what works for you. If none of it does, you could chat with your doctor about prescription sleep meds.
- For vaginal dryness: Water or silicone-based lubes and moisturizers can help.
- For headaches: Ibuprofen may work for you—but if you have severe migraines, this may not do the trick. If this is where you’re at, chat with your doctor. They may prescribe Triptans.
Other things that might help you feel good during this time?
- Rest. Take it when you need it.
- Counseling. Yes, this is a major life change, coupled with a major hormonal change. You don’t have to go through this alone.
- Exercise. It helps. Really. And it doesn’t have to mean a high-intensity workout for hours a day. It can be small and gentle. Just move when you can.
- Self-care. Yes, this term can feel a little overused these days—but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Self-care means different things to different people—coffee dates, nature walking, cupboard cleaning, deep breathing, bubble baths, book reading, mountain climbing, epic naps, binge-watching… the list goes on. It’s whatever fuels you up. We all run on different things.
Don’t be shy about your symptoms and asking for help! As we’ve said many times, menopause is natural, and it happens to all of us lucky to live long enough to experience it. If you’re experiencing bothersome symptoms, we hope we’ve given you some good ideas to get you on the path to relief.
📚 More on menopause:
Introducing, Peanut Menopause
What Happens During Menopause?
How to Deal With Menopause
When Does Menopause Start?
How Long Does Menopause Last?
Painful Sex After Menopause? What to Know