Updated Dec. 12, 2017
En español | When it comes to menopause, some women barely notice a blip on the road through middle age. But many others experience hot flashes and other symptoms that are so intense they can interfere with daily life for 15 years or longer. And there’s no surefire way to get rid of them.
But in early October, a New Hampshire brewery rolled out a craft ale called Libeeration that claims to ease menopause symptoms. At the time, Joanne Francis, the 57-year-old cocreator of the beer and co-owner of the Portsmouth Brewery, told Maine TV station WCSH her employees were initially so dubious of the idea that it took six years to perfect and produce the product.
Apparently there was no need to be dubious. Forbes reports that the first batch of Libeeration sold out within a week of its October release. The product has proven so popular that the brewery announced a second run on Dec. 1.
Libeeration combines lemon balm, chamomile, motherwort, and other herbs and flowers thought to alleviate menopause symptoms. According to head brewer Matt Gallagher, a small dose of Saphir hops in the secondary fermentation “adds a pleasant tangerine note to the finish and can help with sleep.” Francis said the frothy creation is golden straw in color with spicy, fruity, earthy flavors and fills a void in an industry that’s traditionally been focused mostly on 21- to 35-year-old male consumers.
On the Portsmouth Brewery’s Facebook event page, Francis says she consulted with various female health practitioners and herbalists during the production process.
“We want to shift the mentality from focusing on the negative aspects of this stage in life, to celebrating the liberating aspects! Fun, crazy, wildly different: that was our goal to reach women who truly know what it means to be hot!” she said.
But while Francis has called the idea behind the beer a “no-brainer,” some experts are skeptical.
“None of these products and herbs have been proven to work,” internist Stephanie S. Faubion, director of the Women’s Health Clinic and Office of Women’s Health at the Mayo Clinic, told Newsweek. “It’s a cute little gimmick, but alcohol could actually worsen menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.”
And so if beer’s not your thing, researchers say that regular exercise may help.
“Growing evidence indicates that an active lifestyle with regular exercise enhances health, quality of life and fitness in postmenopausal women,” said gynecologist JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society. She also noted that an active lifestyle could lead to fewer hot flashes and a better overall mood.
Exercise can also help with weight control, which is especially important since a recent study linked a high body mass index (BMI) with more frequent and more severe hot flashes.