Multiple Treatment Options Are Available to Menopausal Women
Menopause treatment is available in many forms to relieve symptoms of this life phase. Irregular periods and hot flashes often strike early in menopause, with symptoms such as sleeping problems, sexual difficulties and mood disorders commonly appearing along the way. Although hormone replacement therapy has long been a standard treatment for menopause, women today can also choose from a variety of other medications and alternative treatments.
Hormone Replacement Risks and Benefits
Hormone replacement can entail the use of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and other hormones depending on formulations. Although the benefits of hormone replacement are considerable for menopausal women, certain side effects have been linked to this treatment. For example, increased risks of blood clots, heart disease, stroke and breast cancer have been noted.
Despite the risks, many women still seek hormone replacement for its ability to reduce or resolve issues including hot flashes, night sweats, dryness and osteoporosis. In addition, some research has shown that women receiving hormone replacement after menopause actually have lower risks of heart attack, heart failure and overall mortality as well as no increased risk of cancer.
Menopause treatment with hormones can be divided into systemic therapy and low-dose vaginal treatment. Whereas systemic hormonal therapy treats general symptoms of menopause, vaginal therapy specifically addresses sexual and urinary symptoms.
Alternative Treatments for Individual Symptoms
Symptoms may benefit from several alternative menopause treatments, including non-hormonal medications, other drugs and lifestyle changes.
- Hot Flashes: May be relieved by avoidance of triggers, such as alcohol, spicy food and hot environments.
- Sexual Problems: May be resolved with sex counseling, topical treatments for dryness and PDE-5 inhibitors to increase blood flow.
- Mood Swings: Often addressed with counseling or medications for depression or anxiety.
- Urinary Incontinence: Commonly treated with behavioral changes, drugs or surgery.
- Memory Problems: Often benefit from improved sleep hygiene and increased exercise.
Women suffering from symptoms of menopause have a wide range of treatment choices. Although research has linked hormone replacement to certain health risks, the benefits of this treatment may outweigh possible downfalls for many women. With additional treatments, either conventional or alternative, women may find greater relief of individual menopause symptoms. Regardless of the treatments women choose, seeking help for symptoms should never be delayed as health and quality of life are likely to benefit with the right approach.