Natural Comfort: Red clover improves vaginal dryness

Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial indicate that a standardized red clover supplement is a natural alternative for minimizing vaginal dryness in healthy, postmenopausal women. As women get older, the vagina becomes dry and overly delicate in response to declining levels of the female hormone estrogen. A normal part of aging, the dryness can be managed to help women avoid everyday discomfort and continue to enjoy sex.

Researchers found that 80 mg of the standardized red clover extract significantly improved a measure of normal functioning of the epithelium lining the vagina, compared to placebo.

“The preliminary results of this study are encouraging news for women who want to manage menopause naturally and to continue enjoying sex,” said Dr Whitehead, a researcher. “Unlike steroidal estrogens, the natural isoflavone phytoestrogens or plant estrogens provided by the red clover supplement are showing a welcome estrogenic effect in relieving vaginal dryness while showing no adverse thickening effect on the endometrium.”

Past studies also support the use of red clover for reducing hot flashes in postmenopausal women.

The trial, which ran for two 8-week phases, included 29 women between the ages of 45 and 65 who received either 80 mg of red clover extract daily or placebo for the first phase, then the reverse for another eight weeks after a two-week wash-out period in between. No adverse side effects were reported during the study.

SciWords, July 7, 2003