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Climacteric symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, pain during sexual intercourse, hair loss, forgetfulness, depression and sleeping disturbances are common complaints among breast cancer patients. Some of them are receiving anti-hormonal treatment and others develop ovarian failure as a consequence of cancer treatment. Among these patients, many therapies for alleviating such symptoms have been tested but the results are conflicting. Recently, Münstedt and colleagues have published an study assessing the role of bee pollen and honey in relieving menopausal symptoms in patients receiving tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors/inactivators [1]. The authors compared a pollen‑honey mixture with pure honey (placebo) in a prospective, randomized, cross-over trial. Of the 46 patients recruited; 68.3% reported an improvement in their symptoms while taking honey, compared with 70.9% (22/31) who reported an improvement with pollen (the difference was non-significant). This study provided evidence that honey and bee pollen may improve menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients on anti-hormonal treatment.

Author(s)

  • Camil Castelo-Branco
    Ob Gyn Senior Consultant, Hospital Clínic Barcelona, and Full Professor, University of Barcelona

Citations

  1. Münstedt K, Voss B, Kullmer U, Schneider U, Hübner J.Bee pollen and honey for the alleviation of hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms in breast cancer patients. Mol Clin Oncol 2015;3:869-74
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26171198
  2. Winther K, Rein E, Hedman C. Femal, a herbal remedy made from pollen extracts, reduces hot flushes and improves quality of life in menopausal women: A randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel study. Climacteric 2005;8:162-70
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16096172
  3. Georgiev DB, Metka M, Huber JC, Goudev AR, Manassiev N. Effects of an herbal medication containing bee products on menopausal symptoms and cardiovascular risk markers: Results of a pilot open-uncontrolled trial. Med Gen Med 2004;6:46
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15775873
  4. Sloan JA, Loprinzi CL, Novotny PJ, et al. Methodologic lessons learned from hot flash studies. J Clin Oncol 2001;19:4280-90
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11731510
  5. Kolesarova A, Bakova Z, Capcarova M, et al. Consumption of bee pollen affects rat ovarian functions. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl) 2013;97:1059-65
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23137268
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