Menopause is more than Hot Flashes: What is Missing in Homeopathic Research? A Narrative Review

Background - Menopausal complaints are frequently treated with homeopathy in daily practice worldwide. Recently, vasomotor symptoms have been understood to have implications as predictors of other important and long-term outcomes, causing increased risk of mortality and/or disability. Methods - A comprehensive search of the literature was conducted to investigate whether homeopathic treatments for menopausal women with vasomotor symptoms have a positive effect on other important health outcomes associated with menopause, such as cardiovascular disease, neurocognitive impairment, metabolic and mood disorders, or osteoporosis. Results - Though observational studies have shown encouraging results in reducing the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women treated with homeopathy, few randomized controlled trials have shown positive results. In most of the studies using homeopathy, the primary outcome is reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes, and other menopausal complaints are assessed secondarily as a part of the symptoms evaluated in the menopausal scales. Quality of life improves with homeopathic treatments for hot flashes, but there is scarce evidence of the effect of homeopathy on other health outcomes associated with menopause. Limited evidence exists in the case of menopausal women treated with individualized homeopathy for depression and metabolic disorders. Conclusion - A more comprehensive approach for treating menopause in routine homeopathic practice constitutes a valuable opportunity to increase knowledge and high-quality research in this field. Future homeopathic research for menopause should be focused on well-designed, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials as well as on pragmatic trials to show whether homeopathic treatments for vasomotor symptoms can also improve outcomes that are well-known to increase the risk of mortality and/or disability.

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