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Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2004;57(3):144-8. Epub 2003 Dec 30.

Treatment of climacteric symptoms with herbal formulas of traditional Chinese medicine.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Asahikawa Medical College, Asahikawa, Japan.


Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not successful or is contraindicated for the treatment of climacteric symptoms in some patients. To investigate whether certain herbal formulas of traditional Chinese medicine (Kampo in Japanese) could be used as an alternative treatment, a longitudinal 'before and after' comparative study was carried out in 18 Japanese women, and the results were compared with those of 16 women who underwent HRT. Kampo improved all the climacteric symptoms. In contrast, improvement of cold limbs, sleeping disorders, shoulder stiffness/lumbago, and fatigue in the HRT group was either not significant or of limited extent. In addition, the serum level of estradiol in postmenopausal women was raised by the combined use of two Kampo formulas. These results suggest that Kampo may be considered an alternative to HRT for the treatment of climacteric symptoms, but vigorous monitoring for potential side effects of increased estrogen levels in some postmenopausal patients is needed.

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