Flaxseed as a Treatment for Menopause Symptoms

Flaxseeds in a glass jar

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As you reach menopause, you may try different ways to treat your menopausal symptoms, particularly hot flashes. Among other dietary supplements, you may want to explore natural remedies that will help you manage your symptoms. While the jury is still out on estrogen therapy, there are women who have found effective alternative remedies in the way of botanicals that help with symptoms.

What Does Flaxseed Do?

A small study showed that twenty-one women who consumed 40 grams of ground flaxseed daily had a significant decrease in the frequency and severity of their hot flashes. The women’s hot flashes were scored over a period of six weeks, and those who took the flaxseed showed a 50% decrease in the frequency of flashes, and a 57% decrease in their “flash score” overall, resulting in major improvements in their quality of life. Participants in the study even noticed improvements in their mood and in joint and muscle pain. 40 grams of ground flaxseed is about 4 tablespoons and contains about 8 grams of fiber.

Plant-Based Medicine

Flaxseed is particularly promising as a treatment for menopause symptoms because it is a plant containing both omega-3 fatty acids and lignans. As nonhormonal approaches are continually being sought out, botanicals are seen as an easy alternative therapy. Omega three fatty acids are known to be protective in heart disease, and lignans contain antioxidants that are being studied for their ability to prevent cancer. Flaxseed also seems to have some anti-estrogen qualities that could decrease the risk of breast cancer. When you put all that plant-power together, and the lack of side effects from traditional pharmaceuticals, flaxseed is a viable option that comes with seemingly no harmful reactions.

How to Add Flaxseed to Your Diet

Think of it—fewer flashes, decreased heart disease and lower cancer risk. Flaxseed may turn out to be an ideal “multi-tasking” treatment for several common menopausal woes. If you are having trouble with hot flashes, mood problems or muscle pain, you might want to give it a try. Given that there are few side effects indicated for intake, it's a no-brainer to try something natural and new that's been confirmed as effective, even if it is a small study. Add ground flaxseed to your smoothie, a bowl of cereal, pancakes or oatmeal in the morning. At lunch, you can add it to yogurt or dip. For dinner, add it to rice or pasta and salads as well. There are even some desserts like cookies and muffins that you can add flaxseed to as well.

How Long to Use Flaxseed for Menopause Treatment

Because flaxseed is readily available, less invasive, and cheaper than hormonal therapy, women are using this natural remedy more often. A study in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice showed that women who used flaxseed for 3 months showed improved quality of life. The group of 140 menopausal women was split into 4 groups. A good sample size for this type of study. This study's results show promise for the movement toward using natural plant-based remedies to treat menopause. In addition to flaxseed meal, flaxseed extract is also being tested as a useful treatment for menopausal symptoms. Some treatment plans include flaxseed meal therapy along with traditional hormone therapy in hopes to improve the efficacy of the treatment.

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Article Sources

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  • Cetisli NE, Saruhan A, Kivcak B. The effects of flaxseed on menopausal symptoms and quality of life. Holistic Nursing Practice. 2015 May-Jun;29(3):151-7.