- Question from Nancy: I am having hot flashes (sweat like crazy). My cancer is estrogen-positive. Can I take over-the-counter Estroven to help?
Mindy Goldman, M.D.
The problem with herbal products such as Estroven is that we don't have good quality studies to be able to tell women for sure that these are safe to use. That being said, many women choose alternative therapies to try and decrease their menopausal symptoms. I have had success with women using herbal products like Estroven. Herbal products like Estroven contain the so-called herbs that are thought to be beneficial in treating menopausal symptoms. These include black cohosh, Chasteberry tree/Vitex, and some contain evening primrose, all in different combinations and amounts.
Some of the difficulties with the herbal products are the lack of standards in their preparation and, as I mentioned, the general lack of data assessing their efficacy and safety. That being said, I do recommend herbal products to a number of my breast cancer patients as long as they understand the lack of information that we have about them. I think that they may provide benefit for many women.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. What about green tea?
Mindy Goldman, M.D.
Typically, I've not recommended green tea. Part of that is because most people use the green tea heated, and the heat can make the hot flashes worse sometimes. If people find it's beneficial, as long as they tell us what they're using, I'm fine with that.
Talk to your doctor to make sure there are no drug/herb interactions, but for the most part, the herbal products that are used with menopausal symptoms seem to be safe.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Managing Menopausal Symptoms Part 2 featured Mindy Goldman, M.D. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answering your questions about how to manage menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, and more.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in July 2004.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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