Women who are experiencing hot flushes during the menopause will have the opportunity to take part in a study at Queen Margaret University.
The research is looking at the effect consuming a sage supplement might have on reducing hot flushes and night sweats in menopausal women.
Hot flushes and night sweats are a common problem among women going through the menopause and many confirm that the discomfort they experience has a profound impact upon their quality of life. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often used to manage menopausal symptoms, but many women are reluctant to involve themselves in the long term use of hormone therapy. Research has shown that women using combined HRT (oestrogen and progestogen) are 2.7 times more likely to develop breast cancer over five years than those who did not take the treatment. As a result, many health professionals and women are keen to find an alternative safe and natural way of dealing with the unpleasant symptoms of menopause.
"Calum McMullen, a researcher from Queen Margaret University, is recruiting women from Edinburgh and the Lothians who are between 35 and 65 years of age and experiencing menopausal symptoms. He explained: “We are investigating what effect, if any, dietary supplementation with fresh sage has upon menopausal hot flushes and night sweats. We know that sage has recently emerged as a safe organic substitute to HRT having been used previously as a herbal remedy to manage excessive sweating. We therefore want to carry out further investigation to see if this herb really can provide both a suitable alternative to HRT and possibly an additional benefit for women who are not satisfied with the effect of HRT alone.”"
To take part in the study, women must be experiencing hot flushes and/or sweats and must not have an allergy to sage, smoke or have a history of cardiovascular disease or heart issues. The study is recruiting both women seeking an alternative to HRT and those who are not satisfied with their current experience of HRT use and are seeking an additional therapy to be used in conjunction with HRT. Taking part in the study will involve visiting the university three times. Study participants will be given a readily available, over the counter tablet containing fresh sage extract to be taken once daily over four weeks. All data will be anonymous and participants are free to withdraw from the study at any time.
Dr Iain F. Gow, Reader in Physiology and Pharmacology at Queen Margaret University, is an independent adviser on the study. He confirmed: “The incidence of cancer gets higher the longer someone takes HRT – women who take combined HRT treatments for 15 years or more are 3.3 times as likely to get breast cancer than those who have not taken the pills. These are very real risk factors, but, for some women, the benefits of taking HRT outweigh the risks. However, we owe it to all women to establish the facts about other options. We are therefore pleased to undertake this study to find a safe, well-tolerated and proven alternative to HRT which has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of women in the future.”
Notes to Editor
People interested in participating in the study should contact Calum McMullen on E: CMcMullen@qmu.ac.uk
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