TREATMENTS FOR MENOPAUSE
For many women, symptoms may go away over time without any treatment. Treatments include prescription drugs that contain the hormones estrogen and progesteron that your ovaries stop making around the time of menopause; as well as natural treatments such as herbal, or plant-based products.
Hormone Therapy can contain the hormone estrogen alone or estrogen with the hormone progestin (for a woman who still has her uterus). Estrogen therapy is usually taken by pill, skin patch, as a cream or gel, or with an intrauterine device (IUD) or vaginal ring.
How estrogen is taken will depend on its purpose. For example, a vaginal ring or cream can ease vaginal dryness, leakage of urine or vaginal or urinary infections however, it does not relieve hot flashes. If you are trying to prevent bone loss, you should speak with your doctor about treatments other than hormone therapy to treat your bones.
Benefits and Risks of Hormone Therapy
Benefits- Hormone therapy can help with menopause by:
- reducing hot flashes
- treating vaginal dryness
- slowing bone loss
- decreasing mood swings and depression
DO NOT use hormone therapy to prevent heart attacks, strokes, memory loss, or Alzheimer's disease.
Risks- For some women, hormone therapy may increase their chance of getting:
- blood clots
- heart attacks
- breast cancer
- gall bladder disease
If you decide to use hormones, use them at the lowest dose that helps and for the shortest time needed. Check with your doctor every three to six months to see if you still need them.
Because of both benefits and risks linked to hormones, every woman should think about these in regards to her own health and discuss these with her doctor. Long and short-term effects of hormone therapies on women's health is still being studied.
Some women decide to take herbal, natural or plant-based products to help their symptoms. Some of the most common products include:
- Soy - This contains phytoestrogens (estrogen-like substances from a plant). However, there is no proof that soy or other sources of phytoestrogens--really do relieve hot flashes. Any risks of taking soy, especially the pills and powders, are not known.
- Other sources of phytoestrogens. Include herbs such as black cohish, wild yam, dong quai, and valerin root.
- Bioidentical hormone therapy. Some women visit alternative medicine doctors to get a prescription for these products, which are made from different plant hormones that are like those in a woman's body. Each prescription is hand-mixed, and the dose can vary from patient to patient.
Make sure to discuss herbal products with your doctor. You should also tell your doctor if you are taking other medications to avoid any interactions with the herbal products.
Stay tuned for Part 3 ~ we will discuss Other Ways to Help your Symptoms.
To Your Continued Health and Success!