Menopause is the point in time in which a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a period. The years leading up to this is referred to as perimenopause, and it is often when women experience menopausal symptoms. However, this period is also referred to as “going through menopause” and the symptoms a woman feels is categorized as “menopause symptoms.” The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes, however women also frequently experience night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and memory lapses during this period, along with a host of other symptoms.
There are many treatments available for menopausal symptoms, and one of the more common and effective treatment is hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT works by increasing estrogen levels, which reduces many of the symptoms of menopause. However, HRT does have risks and there are other treatment options available. It is also important to remember that menopause is not a disease and it does not need to be treated. Many women do not ever experience a menopausal symptom.
What Exactly Is HRT?
HRT can be administered in many forms. There are creams, injections, vaginal rings, pills, and gels. They can contain doses of estrogens and progesterone. Though HRT has been scientifically proven to be the most effective way to relieve menopausal symptoms, it also carries many risks. However, research continues to be done to figure out exactly what impact HRT has on women and their health. Hormone replacement therapy may increase your risk for:
- Blood clots
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
It is up to individual women and their doctors whether or not a woman's specific menopause symptoms and risk factors make HRT worth it or not. Many women also choose to use other treatments along with HRT.
What Other Treatments Are Available?
A wide range of prescription medicine, lifestyle changes, over-the-counter treatments, and natural supplements are available to treat menopausal symptoms.
A few examples of these treatments include:
- Black cohosh
- Vaginal lubricants and moisturizers
A woman's treatment choice should depend on what she feels is best for her. It can be hard to make a choice when it comes to treating menopausal symptoms, because so much conflicting and falsified information exists on the topic. However, talking to your doctor and other women who have gone or are going through menopause can help you find a treatment that will work for you.
For More Information
To learn more about the options available for women who suffer from menopause symptoms, contact your doctor or healthcare professional.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2015). Hormone therapy: Is it right for you? Retrieved November 24, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/in-depth/hormone-therapy/art-20046372
- National Health Service. (2014). Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Retrieved November 24, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Hormone-replacement-therapy/Pages/Introduction.aspx