Understanding Menopause: Treatment
What are the treatments for menopause?
Post menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is often prescribed to replenish the body with hormones it no longer produces. Discuss this with your doctor.
There are risks and benefits, and women need to decide if HRT is the right option for them.HRT usually consists of an estrogen/progestogen supplement, usually given by mouth or through a skin patch or gel. Estrogen is the component that helps treat vaginal dryness, osteoporosis (bone loss), and vasomotor symptoms (VMS) like hot flashes and night sweats.
Estrogen alone can increase the risk of endometrial or uterine cancer because it stimulates cell growth, but progestin counteracts this risk.
However, both progestin and estrogen have negative side effects, including irregular bleeding, headaches, bloating, and breast swelling and pain.
Depending on the dosage you are taking, you may even develop an artificial monthly period.
Estrogen can only be used in women who have had a hysterectomy.
Recent research on HRT by the Women’s Health Initiative has produced some controversial results: heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and breast cancer were more common in women taking combined HRT. Taking estrogen alone slightly increased the risk of stroke and blood clots and did not seem to increase or decrease the risk of heart disease.
No increased risk of breast cancer was found in women who received estrogen-only therapy.
Alternative Menopause Treatments
As an alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms in the vagina, your doctor may prescribe a vaginal cream to stop thinning of vaginal tissue and improve lubrication.
There are estrogen-based creams and an estrogen-free cream called Intrarosa (Prasterone) that reduce the intensity of pain during intercourse due to thinning of the vaginal tissues.
Your diet can also help you get through menopause:
- Eat foods rich in plant estrogens, such as soybeans and soy milk. Some research suggests that soy may relieve symptoms like hot flashes. Other research shows it may increase the risk of cancer in women with a uterus. Nuts and seeds, fennel, celery, parsley, and flaxseed oil may also help.
- Increase your calcium intake (1,000 to 1,500 mg per day) and exercise regularly with weights to prevent osteoporosis and maintain overall health.
- Black cohosh extract is believed to reduce symptoms without causing the problems associated with estrogen.
However, this herbal supplement can cause side effects such as upset stomach, cramps, and headaches. Liver damage.
It is important to understand that there is little scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these alternative treatments.
Regular exercise can help minimize menopause symptoms and maintain overall health. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and other relaxation techniques can reduce the stress of menopause.
It’s also a good idea to give up old, unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking too much alcohol.
Other interventions that may be helpful include dressing lightly and in layers and avoiding potential triggers such as caffeine and spicy foods.
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