The main treatment for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), although other treatments are also available for some of the symptoms.
HRT involves taking oestrogen to replace the decline in your body’s own levels around the time of the menopause. This can relieve many of the associated symptoms.
HRT has been out of favour since the early 2000s because of a link with breast cancer, but new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) say that HRT is effective and should be offered to women with menopausal symptoms, after discussing the risks and benefits. There are two main types of HRT:
HRT is available as tablets, skin patches, a gel to rub into the skin or implants.
HRT is extremely effective at relieving menopausal symptoms, especially hot flushes and night sweats, but there are a number of side effects, including breast tenderness, headaches and vaginal bleeding. It’s also associated with an increased risk of blood clots and Breast Cancer in some women.
HRT is not advisable for some women, such as those who have had certain types of breast cancer or are at high risk of getting breast cancer. Your GP can give you more information about the risks and benefits of HRT to help you decide whether or not you want to take it.
If you experience hot flushes and night sweats as a result of the menopause, simple measures may sometimes help, such as:
If the flushes and sweats are frequent or severe, your GP may suggest taking HRT.
If HRT isn’t suitable for you, or you would prefer not to have it, your GP may recommend other medications that can help, such as clonidine (a high blood pressure medicine) or certain antidepressants. These medications can cause unpleasant side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment.
Some women experience mood swings, low mood and anxiety around the time of the menopause.
Self-help measures such as getting plenty of rest, taking regular exercise and doing relaxing activities such as yoga and tai chi may help. Medication and other treatments are also available, including HRT andcognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT is a type of talking therapy that can improve low mood and feelings of anxiety. Your GP may be able to refer you for CBT on the NHS, or recommend self-help options such as online CBT courses. Antidepressants may help if you’ve been diagnosed with Depression.
It’s common for women to lose interest in sex around the time of the menopause, but HRT can often help with this. If HRT isn’t effective, you might be offered a testosterone supplement.
Testosterone is the male sex hormone, but it can help to restore sex drive in menopausal women. It’s not currently licensed for use in women, although it can be prescribed by a doctor if they think it might help.
Possible side effects of testosterone supplements include acne and unwanted hair growth.
If your vagina becomes dry, painful or itchy as a result of the menopause, your GP can prescribe oestrogen treatment that’s put directly into your vagina as a pessary, cream or vaginal ring.
This can safely be used alongside HRT. You’ll usually need to use vaginal oestrogen indefinitely, as your symptoms are likely to return when treatment stops. However, side effects are very rare. You can also use over-the-counter vaginal moisturisers or lubricants in addition to, or instead of, vaginal oestrogen. Read More About: Vaginal Dryness and Sex After The Menopause
Women who have been through the menopause are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (weak bones) as a result of the lower level of oestrogen in the body. You can reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis by:
Premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian insufficiency, is when a woman experiences the menopause before the age of 40.
The two main treatments for early menopause are HRT and the combined contraceptive pill, as they both contain oestrogen and progestogen.
These treatments can help to relieve troublesome menopausal symptoms and reduce the risk of problems such as osteoporosis. Your doctor will normally recommend continuing treatment until at least around the time of natural menopause (45 to 55 years of age).
If you’re having treatment for your menopausal symptoms, you’ll need to return to your GP for a follow-up review after three months, and once a year after that. During your reviews, your GP may:
Many women will need treatment for a few years, until most of their menopausal symptoms have passed.
Read More ON:
Symptoms of Menopause
Sex After Menopause
Causes of Infertility
Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
Diagnosing Ectopic Pregnancy
Treating Ectopic Pregnancy
Symptoms of Miscarriage
Causes of Miscarriage
What Happens if you Have a Miscarriage
Female Sexual Problems
Hormone Replacements Therapy
SOURCE: NHS UK