Author(s): Hirata JD, Swiersz LM, Zell B, Small R, Ettinger B
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate possible estrogenic effects of dong quai on vaginal cells and on endometrial thickness in postmenopausal women. DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. SETTING: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a large health maintenance organization (HMO). PATIENT(S): Seventy-one postmenopausal women (mean age [+/- SD], 52.4 +/- 6 years) who had follicle-stimulating hormone levels (third-generation assay) of > 30 mIU/mL with hot flashes. INTERVENTION(S): Subjects were randomized to treatment with either dong quai or placebo for 24 weeks. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Endometrial thickness was measured by transvaginal ultrasonography; vaginal cells were evaluated for cellular maturation; menopausal symptoms were evaluated by reviewing the Kupperman index and the diary of vasomotor flushes. RESULT(S): We observed no statistically significant differences between groups in endometrial thickness, in vaginal maturation index, in number of vasomotor flushes, or in the Kupperman index. CONCLUSION(S): Used alone, dong quai does not produce estrogen-like responses in endometrial thickness or in vaginal maturation and was no more helpful than placebo in relieving menopausal symptoms.