By BETHANY MCKAY
A MONASH University student is developing a global service to deliver natural remedies to menopausal women who can’t or don't want to use hormone replacement therapy.
Elia Li came up with the idea after witnessing her mother’s struggle through menopause.
“FEMI aims to help women who can’t take hormone replacement therapy have a more evidence-based approach to how they’re going to tackle menopause naturally,” Ms Li said.
The service – called FEMI – provides women with herbal teas, aromatherapy sprays and roll-on essential oil sticks to assist with symptoms such as hot flushes.
But the president of the Australian Menopause Society said hormonal therapy remained the best treatment.
The Society's clinical associate professor and president Amanda Vincent said there was a need for both menopausal hormonal therapy (MHT) and non-hormonal treatment options.
“Non-hormonal treatments are used by women who cannot take MHT due to medical reasons or who choose not to take MHT. It is the best treatment to improve hot flushes and quality of life for menopausal women.
She said it reduced the risk of postmenopausal bone fracture, including hip fractures and was safe to use for most women in their 50s or for the first 10 years after the onset of menopause.
“The main risk for women taking oral MHT is blood clots,” A/Prof Vincent said.
Ms Li said her mother had a difficult time when her menopause started.
“It was a terrible time for our family we had no idea what was going on, she had no idea what was going on and the doctor really gave her no conclusive answers," she said.
“I realised it’s really impactful to find the right thing for a woman going through menopause for the whole entire family.”
Mother-of-two Melissa Roberts entered early menopause after a hysterectomy in her 30s.
The now 47-year-old said throughout menopause she experienced severe mood swings, skin irritations and dryness.
“My skin and hair has become dry, I get hot flushing and my skin gets itchy – it feels like ants are running up and down,” Ms Roberts said.
FEMI has made the final round for Australia this year in Pitch@Palace, a pitch platform founded by the Duke of York. The winners will be announced next month.
“We are in the process of backing up our products with substantial scientific evidence to make sure they work for the symptoms women experience,” Ms Li said.
“Many women experience insomnia, hot flushes, changes in their mood, and body aches and pains during menopause,” she said.
Some products being developed by FEMI include herbal teas, aromatherapy sprays and essential oil roll on sticks.