Objectives: Korean red ginseng (KRG) has been widely used as an alternative medicine to relieve menopausal symptoms. However, there is still a lack of clinical studies showing the effects of KRG on menopausal symptoms after gynecologic cancer surgery. Therefore, the authors investigated the effects of KRG on surgical menopause symptoms in premenopausal women with gynecologic cancer. Design: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted. Settings/Location: The study was performed at Severance Hospital at the Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. Subjects: Fifty-five premenopausal women diagnosed with gynecologic cancer were enrolled in the study. Interventions: Patients were randomly assigned to a KRG (n = 29) or a placebo control group (n = 26). Subjects were administered either KRG (a total of 3 g per day) or placebo supplements for 12 weeks. Outcome measures: Patients' physical measurements (height, weight, and blood pressure) and blood samples (lipid profiles, hormone profiles, biochemical profiles, and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio) at baseline and at 12 weeks were compared. Changes in menopausal symptoms based on the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS) were also compared between these two time points and two groups. Results: After 12 weeks, the MRS score was significantly reduced in each group (p = 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively), but there were no significant differences between the two groups (p = 0.661). No adverse events were observed in either group. After comparing 11 MRS symptoms between the two groups, the KRG group seemed to be superior to the placebo group on the subscale of sexual complaints (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Through the study, KRG did not show absolute relief of surgical menopause symptoms in premenopausal women after gynecologic cancer surgery. However, the study did demonstrate that KRG may be effective in reducing sexual complaints. Further studies are required to evaluate the long-term effects of KRG in a larger patient population.
Keywords: Korean red ginseng; gynecologic cancer; premenopausal women; surgical menopause symptoms; survival.