The effects of red clover on quality of life in post-menopausal women

Soheila Ehsanpour, Kobra Salehi, Behzad Zolfaghari, Soheila Bakhtiari


BACKGROUND: Due to symptoms and its complications, menopause influences the mental, psychological and physical health, social performance and familial relationships. Because of the undesirable side effects of hormone replacement therapy, tendency and desire toward alternative treatments in relieving menopausal symptoms have increased. Among the alternative therapies are herbs and among those, herbs with phytoestrogens are more preferable. Red clover is a rich source of phytoestrogens. The present study investigated the effect of red clover on quality of life in post-menopausal women.

METHODS: In a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, 72 menopausal women who at least obtained 15 scores in Kupperman Menopausal Index, after two weeks of monitoring, were randomly allocated to receive either placebo or 45 mg of red clover isoflavones for eight weeks. Before the treatment and at the end of the study, menopause-specific quality of life questionnaire (MENQOL) was completed in the two groups.

RESULTS: A total of 55 women completed the study, 28 subjects in red clover and 27 in placebo group. Mean score of total quality of life (p < 0.001 in both groups), mean score of quality of life in vasomotor domain (p < 0.001 in both groups), psycho-social domain (p < 0.001 in red clover and p = 0.02 in placebo group) and physical domain (p < 0.001 red clover and p = 0.01 placebo group) significantly reduced compared to the baseline values. However, the differences between two groups were significant neither for total quality of life nor for its domains. Red clover had no side effects and all the subjects in the red clover group were satisfied with the prescribed administration.

CONCLUSIONS: In the present study, the effect of red clover supplementation on menopausal women's quality of life showed no difference with the placebo. Further clinical trials are recommended.

KEY WORDS: Menopause, phytoestrogens, quality of life, red clover, symptoms.


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