Important Questions To Ask About Menopause Hormone Medicines
- Are hormones right for me? Why?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the serious risks and common side effects?
- How long should I use hormone therapy?
- What is the lowest dose that will work for me?
- Are there any non-hormone medicines that I can take?
Want more information about menopause? Check the FDA website at: www.fda.gov/menopause
The drug and risk information in this booklet may change. Check for the latest facts on each product listed in this booklet.
Safety Note About Natural Remedies
Always remember that natural does not necessarily mean safe. Many herbal, plant, and dietary supplements interact with prescription medications or may have a negative impact on chronic medical conditions. Natural approaches are not risk-free, and the more you know, the better you can choose treatments that will keep you safe and well.
Before deciding to use alternative and complementary remedies for your menopause symptoms, check with your medical provider and read up on possible side effects and cautions for any remedy you are considering.
Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Complementary and alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies and bioidentical hormones, are not recommended for symptoms of the menopause. This is because it’s generally unclear how safe and effective they are.
Bioidentical hormones are not the same as body identical hormones. Body identical hormones, or micronised progesterone, can be prescribed to treat menopausal symptoms.
Some complementary and alternative therapies can also interact with other medicines and cause side effects.
Ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if you’re thinking about using a complementary therapy.
Page last reviewed: 29 August 2018 Next review due: 29 August 2021
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Which Hrt Is Best For Me
If you havent taken HRT before or are not sure, its better to speak to your doctor in the first instance, so that they can review your symptoms and help you decide on the most suitable treatment. They will also be able to discuss the different forms of HRT, and help you weigh up the benefits and risks of each depending on your circumstances.
Hot Flushes And Night Sweats
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 medicines that can help, such as clonidine or certain antidepressants.
These medicines can cause unpleasant side effects, so it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor before starting treatment.
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What To Look For When Choosing Menopause Supplements
When choosing a menopause supplement, look for ingredients such as black cohosh, red clover, and saint johns wort. These ingredients were found to be highly effective in peer-reviewed clinical trials. A lot of menopause supplements also contain phytoestrogens from soy and other plants, but their efficiency is still unknown.
Other than that, you will find many different ingredients in menopause supplements that treat symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, depression, and vaginal dryness. Because the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements, it can be hard to tell if the ingredients in your product are safe.
However, some products are manufactured in an FDA-approved facility and by the Good Manufacturing Practice guidelines, which is a sign that a product is safe for use.
Furthermore, look for products offering a money-back guarantee as this also is a sign that the manufacturer has your safety and satisfaction in mind. This also means you wont be throwing money away on products that dont offer any relief.
Who Should Take Tibolone
Tibolone is indicated for use by women who:
- are postmenopausal, and have not had a menstrual bleed for at least one year.
Because it contains a testosterone mimetic, it can be useful in alleviating reduced libido , in addition to the other symptoms of menopause .
It can also be prescribed to women who have had a hysterectomy.
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Eat A Diet Rich In Whole Grains Fruits And Vegetables
Many of the supplements recommended above can be found naturally in food. Eating a plant-rich diet can help support you during menopause and beyond, by naturally increasing your phytoestrogen and vitamin intake. And a healthy diet can keep your weight under control which can be especially helpful since weighing more is also a risk factor for hot flashes.
Lifestyle Changes To Improve Hot Flashes
Before considering medication, first try making changes to your lifestyle. Doctors recommend women make changes like these for at least 3 months before starting any medication.
If hot flashes are keeping you up at night, keep your bedroom cooler and try drinking small amounts of cold water before bed. Layer your bedding so it can be adjusted as needed. Some women find a device called a bed fan helpful. Here are some other lifestyle changes you can make:
- Dress in layers, which can be removed at the start of a hot flash.
- Carry a portable fan to use when a hot flash strikes.
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine. These can make menopausal symptoms worse.
- If you smoke, try to quit, not only for menopausal symptoms, but for your overall health.
- Try to maintain a healthy weight. Women who are overweight or obese may experience more frequent and severe hot flashes.
- Try mind-body practices like yoga or other self-calming techniques. Early-stage research has shown that mindfulness meditation, yoga, and tai chi may help improve menopausal symptoms.
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What Are The Different Types Of Antidepressants
There are four main types of antidepressants:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . SSRIs increase the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in your brain. Doctors often prescribe these first because they cause the fewest side effects.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors . SNRIs increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain.
- Tricyclic antidepressants. These keep more serotonin and norepinephrine available in your brain.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors . Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are all monoamines. A monoamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Your body naturally creates an enzyme called monoamine oxidase that destroys them. MAOIs work by blocking this enzyme from acting on the monoamines in your brain. However, MAOIs are rarely prescribed anymore, as they can cause more serious side effects.
Antidepressants may provide relief from vasomotor symptoms of menopause. Vasomotor symptoms involve the blood vessels. They include things like:
- hot flashes
80 percent of menopausal women experience these symptoms, notes a 2014 study.
Studies suggest that low doses of SSRIs or SNRIs may help reduce vasomotor symptoms, especially hot flashes and night sweats. For example, a found that a low dose of the SNRI venlafaxine worked almost as well as traditional hormone therapy for reducing hot flashes.
Antidepressants can cause a range of side effects. SSRIs generally cause the fewest side effects. Your doctor might suggest trying this type first.
Black Cohosh Actaea Racemosa
For centuries, Native North American women have used black cohosh for menstrual cramps and menopausal symptoms.
Black cohosh is the most extensively researched of all herbs used for managing menopausal symptoms, and is available in many different formulations, which vary in quality and efficacy. Many of the clinical studies of black cohosh have used the commercially available product Remifemin®, or the extract Ze 450 .
It is not clear how black cohosh acts on the body. It does not appear to act like the female hormone oestrogen, but may be involved in modulating oestrogenic pathways in the body. It may mimic the actions of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
Precautions: black cohosh should be taken only for as long as your menopausal symptoms persist. It is generally well tolerated, although can cause headaches in some women. Headaches usually stop if the dose is reduced for a while, then gradually increased again.
Black cohosh is often used in early menopause brought on by cancer treatments, especially breast, ovarian or endometrial cancer. Of all the herbs, black cohosh has the most research about its safety in support of its use. It appears to be safe in breast cancer patients, although further research is needed. Women with breast cancer or other hormone-dependent tumours should always talk to their doctor before taking black cohosh.
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Menopause Symptoms And Hrt
Menopause symptoms that may be relieved by HRT include:
- hot flushes and night sweats
- vaginal dryness
- hair loss or abnormal hair growth
- dry and itchy eyes.
Other therapies, including vaginal oestrogen products, antidepressants or other medications, may be used depending on the symptoms and risk factors. Seek advice from your doctor.
Mindbody And Clinical Treatments For Menopause Symptoms
Many people find that mindbody treatments can offer some relief during and after menopause. Many of these treatments have additional health benefits.
Some treatments can be done on your own at home others must be administered by a trained healthcare professional. As with any treatment, talk to your provider before adding any of these to your healthcare plan.
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Should I Take Hormones For My Hot Flashes
Talk with your doctor before using hormones to treat menopause symptoms. Hormones should be used at the lowest dose and for the shortest period of time they are effective.
Hormones can be very effective at reducing the number and severity of hot flashes. They are also effective in reducing vaginal dryness and bone loss.
Hormone treatments can take the form of pills, patches, rings, implants, gels, or creams. Patches, which stick to the skin, may be best for women with cardiac risk factors, such as a family history of heart disease.
There are many types of hormones available for women to treat hot flashes. These include estradiol, conjugated estrogen, selective estrogen receptor modulators , and compounded or synthetic hormones. It is a common misconception that synthetic hormones mixed by a compounding pharmacist are safer and less risky than other hormone therapies. This is not the case. We must assume they have the same risks as any hormone therapy.
Some of the relatively mild side effects of hormone use include breast tenderness, spotting or return of monthly periods, cramping, or bloating. By changing the type or amount of the hormones, the way they are taken, or the timing of the doses, your doctor may be able to help control these side effects or, over time, they may go away on their own.
Natural Remedies For Menopause
In addition to diet, there are many natural remedies that have been used by naturopathic doctors for centuries to help offer women menopausal relief. Researchers recommend using maca root, for example, which allows the endocrine system to better regulate mood, metabolism, and energy levels all of which can serve to alleviate pesky irritations caused by menopause. Though its unclear exactly how maca works, experts believe it may suppress the follicle-stimulating hormone , which is important, because low estrogen levels and high FSH levels may cause hot flashes.
Root herb black cohosh, flaxseed, red clover, and evening primrose oil have all been shown to help quell hot flashes, while plant extract kava, which can help with generalized anxiety, and St. Johns Wort, which treats mild to moderate depression, are sometimes used to help control mood swings.
If you need some help beyond what your diet and natural remedies can provide, it may be time to take a supplement. Read on for Womans Worlds picks for the best menopause supplements for women over 50!
Note: Before taking any herbs, supplements, or vitamins, its imperative that you first talk to your doctor, as some herbs are not compatible with other medicines, and/or medical conditions, such as liver disease.
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Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What is the treatment?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it effective?
- How much does it cost?
Once you answer these questions, discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering in order to discuss possible interactions or side effects with your current treatment.
How Bijuva Works To Help Ease Hot Flashes
Bijuva works by replacing a womans natural hormones with bioidentical ones.
The estradiol helps reduce hot flashes, while the progesterone lowers a womans risk for endometrial cancer.
The medicine should only be used by women who havent had their uterus removed surgically. If you dont have a uterus , you dont need to take progesterone.
Bijuva is taken once every evening with food.
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Cambios En El Estilo De Vida
Si bien este primer nivel de tratamiento para el sobrepeso implica el menor riesgo, tambiÃ©n exige el mayor autocontrol. No obstante, realizar sencillos ajustes en la rutina diaria puede contribuir, en gran medida, a controlar el peso y mejorar el bienestar general.
Los dos pilares sobre los que se apoya este tipo de tratamiento para combatir el sobrepeso durante la menopausia son: mejoras en la dieta y actividad fÃsica regular, que permiten acelerar el metabolismo y equilibrar las hormonas, al tiempo que se implementan otros hÃ¡bitos saludables para obtener Ã³ptimos resultados.
Aprender quÃ© y cuÃ¡nto comer para mantenerse en forma Ã³ptima son elementos clave para elaborar una dieta para la menopausia bien equilibrada. Se aconseja a las mujeres que opten por comidas frecuentes pero en porciones moderadas, elaboradas con ingredientes integrales, tales como:
La actividad fÃsica regular no solo puede ayudar a controlar el aumento de peso durante la menopausia, sino que tambiÃ©n promueve el equilibrio hormonal, fortaleciendo los huesos, estimulando el estado de Ã¡nimo, liberando el estrÃ©s y contribuyendo a aliviar otros sÃntomas de la menopausia.
Para nutrir el cuerpo de adentro hacia afuera y complementar los esfuerzos para controlar el aumento de peso, se alienta a las mujeres a inculcar prÃ¡cticas saludables para obtener los mejores resultados. Pueden incluir lo siguiente:
Give Acupuncture A Try
Those little needles are actually pretty powerful. Research shows that after just three acupuncture sessions, women had fewer or milder symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats, as well as improved quality of life .
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How To Cool Down Or Perk Up With The Handful Of Treatments That Are Backed By Science
by Shira Boss, AARP, July 30, 2018| 0
Acupuncture, one study says, may help with night sweats.
En español | If a little relief without a prescription sounds like how youd like to address something like mood swings or dryness right now, read on for top natural remedies backed up by more than hearsay. Plus, what to eat if you want to put off menopause as long as possible .
When Will Bijuva Be Available
Bijuva will become available in the Spring of 2019.
A spokesperson from TherapeuticsMD, the company that markets Bijuva, said the medicine will be covered by insurance, and there will be a patient affordability program in place for eligible women.
This treatment will be covered by insurance, unlike compounded hormone therapy products, where women mostly pay out of pocket, said Pinkerton. It is a novel, effective, and often requested therapy for symptomatic menopausal women and their healthcare providers.
Hot Flashes: An Unwelcome Symptom Of Menopause
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 43 million women in the United States are in menopause.
Menopause happens when a womans ovaries stop producing hormones, and she no longer gets her monthly menstrual cycles. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average age of menopause in the United States is 51.
Menopause is officially diagnosed when its been a full year since a woman has had her last menstrual period.
But menopausal symptoms can happen any time a woman starts to lose estrogen, which includes the transition period leading up to menopause, which is known as perimenopause, and after menopause happens, which is known as postmenopause.
Along with hot flashes, women may experience:
- Night sweats
The hallmark of menopause are hot flashes, and many women continue to suffer needlessly in silence and do not seek help, said Risa Kagan, MD, a clinical investigator for the pivotal studies on Bijuva from Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, California. This is often due to their fears related to hormone therapy and hopes that symptoms will just resolve. Many are using OTC remedies, which are no better than a placebo and have not been well studied.
Dr. Kagan also says recent research has shown many women suffer from hot flashes for more time than previously reported. For some, it could be 10 years or longer, she said.
Red Clover Trifolium Pratense
Traditionally, the flowers of red clover have been used for skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, and coughs.
Red clover is one of the most widely researched herbs for menopausal health. It contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones, which can have oestrogen-like actions in the body. Most of the research conducted on red clover has been on the preparation Promensil®.
It may be beneficial for hot flushes, but evidence for its effectiveness is conflicting, due to varying formulations and dosages. Some research suggests it may be more effective if you are postmenopausal rather than perimenopausal , and if you experience five or more hot flushes per day.
There is limited evidence that it may help to maintain bone health and perhaps reduce LDL cholesterol .
Precautions: The safety of red clover for patients with breast or endometrial cancer has not been established.
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