What Is The Best Menopause Treatment
Since every woman has to go through menopause at some stage in her life, hundreds of clinical trials and research studies are continuously being conducted in order to find the most appropriate method for these women to manage the symptoms they experience during this time in their lives.
This has led to the development of many different treatment measures that women can now utilize to help them overcome the unpleasant menopause symptoms.
WebMD explains that the specific type of treatment often also depends on some factors related to the woman who is experiencing these symptoms.
When it comes to a pharmaceutical approach, a woman who still has a uterus will often receive combination HRT , while a woman who does not have a uterus anymore may only be prescribed a dose of estrogen.
A lot of women do tend to experience adverse reactions to these particular treatment options.
This is a particular reason why natural supplements for menopause are becoming more-and-more popular these supplements often provide relief of the symptoms experienced by the woman going through menopause, without causing the dreadful side-effects often associated with hormone replacement therapy.
Central Nervous System And Menopause
The association between estrogen and memory function is an intriguing area of research. Normal aging itself induces a decline in certain cognitive capabilities, and a lack of estrogen may contribute to this process. If this is the case, postmenopausal estrogen therapy may be able to preserve this function and slow or even prevent decline in certain cognitive functions.
An inherent difficulty in this area involves the limitations of objective cognitive testing for functions such as memory. Postmenopausal women receiving estrogen therapy have shown better performance on memory testing than postmenopausal control subjects not receiving estrogen therapy. The effect of estrogen is to slow the decline of preserved memory function. Womens Health Initiative data do not show improved cognitive function in women taking either hormone therapy or estrogen therapy.
Current data suggest that Alzheimer disease is more common in women than in men, even when the longer average lifespan of women is taken into account, because AD is primarily an age-related condition. In earlier studies, estrogen therapy appeared to reduce the relative risk of AD or to delay its onset. Estrogen therapy has not been shown to improve cognitive function in patients with AD; it cannot reverse previous cognitive decline and therefore has no role as a sole treatment modality in AD. WHI data support this view.
Benefits And Risks Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
The main benefit of HRT is that it can help relieve most menopausal symptoms, including hot flushes, brain fog, joint pains, mood swings and vaginal dryness.
It can also help prevent thinning of the bones, which can lead to fractures . Osteoporosis is more common after the menopause.
Some types of HRT can slightly increase the risk of breast cancer and blood clots in some women. You need to discuss whether you have any risk factors with a doctor or nurse.
Evidence says that the risks of HRT are small and usually outweighed by the benefits.
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.
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How Can Symptoms Be Handled
Being informed about what may happen during the menopause transition is a very good starting point.
Women are encouraged to pay attention to their health, including quitting smoking, eating well, exercising regularly and incorporating some relaxation techniques. Self-management strategies such as carrying a fan, dressing in layers, always having a cool drink and a facial water spray can be helpful. Avoiding spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol will also reduce flushing.
Some women may find relief from menopausal symptoms with herbal or alternative remedies, however most have not been studied or shown to be of benefit scientifically and some, like black cohosh, have been occasionally linked to serious side effects. Bioidentical hormones mixtures of hormones supplied by compounding chemists may be touted as beneficial and more natural than menopause hormone replacement therapy but there is inadequate evidence for their safety and effectiveness .
Doctors may prescribe other drugs to relieve symptoms, such as anti-depressants , gabapentin, and clonidine. .
What Are Some Natural Remedies For Menopause Symptoms
Some women report relief for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms with complementary or alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor or nurse before taking any herbal or vitamin supplement. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements in the same way they regulate medicines. Many supplements can interfere with medicines and make them work incorrectly or not at all.
Some research studies show relief from premenstrual syndrome symptoms with these herbal supplements, but other studies do not. Many herbal supplements should not be used with other medicines. Some herbal supplements women use for menopause symptoms are:
Research continues on these and other alternative ways of relieving menopause. Talk to your doctor or nurse before trying natural remedies.
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Perimenopause Vs Menopause Vs Postmenopause
During perimenopause, menstrual periods become irregular. Your periods may be late, or you may completely skip one or more periods. Menstrual flow may also become heavier or lighter.
Menopause is defined as a lack of menstruation for one full year.
Postmenopause refers to the years after menopause has occurred.
Natural Ways To Reduce Symptoms Of Menopause
Menopause begins in the late 40s or early 50s for most women. It usually lasts for a few years.
During this time, at least two-thirds of women experience symptoms of menopause (
In addition, menopausal women are at a higher risk of several diseases including osteoporosis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes (
Here is a list of 11 natural ways to reduce the symptoms of menopause.
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Keeping Cool And Staying Comfortable
Dress in loose, layered clothing, especially during the nighttime and during warm or unpredictable weather. This can help you manage hot flashes.
Keeping your bedroom cool and avoiding heavy blankets at night can also help reduce your chances of night sweats. If you regularly have night sweats, consider using a waterproof sheet under your bedding to protect your mattress.
You can also carry a portable fan to help cool you down if youre feeling flushed.
When Does Menopause Begin And How Long Does It Last
Most women first begin developing menopause symptoms about four years before their last period. Symptoms often continue until about four years after a womans last period.
A small number of women experience menopause symptoms for up to a decade before menopause actually occurs, and 1 in 10 women experience menopausal symptoms for 12 years following their last period.
The median age for menopause is 51, though it may occur on average up to two years earlier for Black and Latina women. More studies are needed to understand the onset of menopause for women of color.
There are many factors that help determine when youll begin menopause, including genetics and ovary health. Perimenopause occurs before menopause. Perimenopause is a time when your hormones begin to change in preparation for menopause.
It can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Many women begin perimenopause some point after their mid-40s. Other women skip perimenopause and enter menopause suddenly.
About 1 percent of women begin menopause before the age of 40, which is called premature menopause or primary ovarian insufficiency. About 5 percent of women undergo menopause between the ages of 40 and 45. This is referred to as early menopause.
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Can There Be Any Complications With Menopause
Its possible for complications associated with menopause to happen, like;
- vulvovaginal atrophy
- painful intercourse
- slower metabolism
- periodontal disease
- urinary incontinence ;
- heart or blood vessel disease.;
Talk to your doctor about how lifestyle changes or hormone replacement therapy could help reduce your risks of any of these potential complications.;
Ams Guide To Equivalent Mht/hrt Doses
This information has been developed as a guideline only to approximately equivalent doses of the different HRT products available. The intention is to help physicians change their patients to higher or lower approximate doses of MHT/HRT if needing to tailor therapy, or remain within the same approximate dose if needing to change brands of MHT/HRT.
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Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
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Ongoing Treatment And Follow
Any treatment for hot flushes needs to be evaluated periodically. Before switching from one treatment to another there may need to be a gradual tapering of medication.
Content updated August 2016
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When To See Your Gp
It’s worth talking to your GP if you have menopausal symptoms that are troubling you or if you’re experiencing symptoms of the menopause before 45 years of age.
Your GP can usually confirm whether you are menopausal based on your symptoms, but a;blood test;to measure your hormone levels may be carried out if you’re aged 40 to 45.
Blood tests may also be carried out to help diagnose suspected premature menopause if youre under 40 and have menopausal symptoms.
Treatment For Male Menopause
Male menopause is treated with hormone replacement therapy, but this is usually only tried if lifestyle changes do not work. Hormone replacement therapy involves using synthetic testosterone, which can have some drawbacks.
;Studies have shown links between hormone replacement therapy in males and an increased risk for prostate cancer. Hormone replacement therapy can be prescribed as:
Tablets or pills Injections
Make sure you discuss all options with your doctor before deciding on a treatment plan.;
In cases of hypogonadism, hormone replacement therapy may be the only successful way. Antidepressants and therapy can also be used to treat some of the symptoms of male menopause.
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Vaginal Dryness And Discomfort
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.
Home Remedies: Plant Estrogens
Isoflavones are chemical compounds found in soy and other plants that are phytoestrogens, or plant-derived estrogens. There is a perception among many women that plant estrogens are “natural” and therefore safer than HT, but medical researchers haven’t proven this scientifically. Most scientific studies have not shown a benefit of phytoestrogens in controlling hot flashes. In addition, there is concern that some phytoestrogens might act like estrogen in some tissues of the body. Therefore, many experts recommend that women who have a history of breast cancer avoid phytoestrogens.
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What Can Be Done About Painful Sex
Vaginal dryness may be experienced after menopause. This is uncomfortable and can make vaginal sex painful. Vaginal oestrogen cream is available on prescription. It increases vaginal moisture and makes penetrative sex more comfortable. Water-based lube might also make sex less painful.
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.
Hormone Therapy For Menopause
The risk of endometrial cancer is higher in women who have a uterus and are given unopposed estrogen therapy. Nevertheless, any vaginal bleeding in a woman on hormone therapy should immediately be evaluated to rule out endometrial cancer.
The risk of breast cancer begins to increase after 3 to 5 years of combination therapy when the standard dose is used. When estrogen is used alone, risk of breast cancer was slightly lower at 7 years in the Women’s Health Initiative study, but this benefit appears to disappear after 10 to 15 years of use. The risk of venous thromboembolism and stroke may be lower when low-dose transdermal estrogen is used. Older postmenopausal women are at higher risk of coronary artery disease and dementia when they are given combination therapy. Incidence of gallbladder disease and urinary incontinence may be increased with combination therapy or estrogen alone. Risk of all these disorders is very low in healthy women who take hormone therapy for a short time after menopause.
Estrogen therapy may be contraindicated in women who have had or are at high risk of breast cancer, stroke, coronary artery disease, or thrombosis.
Progestogens may have adverse effects ; micronized progesterone appears to have fewer adverse effects. Progestogens may increase the risk of thrombosis. There are no long-term safety data for progestogens.
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Oestrogen Only Menopausal Hormone Therapy
Women generally undergo menopause between the ages of 45 and 55 years. Around the time of menopause many women may experience symptoms such as hot flushes, sweats, vaginal dryness, loss of libido, irritability, sleep disturbance, and muscle/joint pains. There are a number of ways of managing these symptoms, but for those whose symptoms are troublesome and disruptive, oestrogen containing HRT may be considered.
Why Does Menopause Happen
Menopause happens when your ovaries stop producing eggs.;
For around 5% of women1, its possible for early menopause to happen. Its also possible to go through premature menopause , which is incredibly rare, as it only affects only 1% of women2. Experts arent quite sure why some women go through early or premature menopause, although chances are its genetic. If your mother had an early menopause, youre more likely, but not guaranteed, to go through it early too.;
Sometimes early menopause can be triggered by:;
- An oophorectomy, which is when the ovaries are removed
- Some breast cancer treatments, like chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- An underlying condition like Downs syndrome or Addisons disease.;
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What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause
Every womans menopause experience is unique. Symptoms are usually more severe when menopause occurs suddenly or over a shorter period of time.
Aside from menstruation changes, the symptoms of perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause are generally the same. The most common early signs of perimenopause are:
An estimated 75 percent of women experience hot flashes with menopause.
Other common symptoms of menopause include:
- follicle-stimulating hormone
- luteinizing hormone
One of the most notable changes is the loss of active ovarian follicles. Ovarian follicles are the structures that produce and release eggs from the ovary wall, allowing menstruation and fertility.
Most women first notice the frequency of their period becoming less consistent, as the flow becomes heavier and longer. This usually occurs at some point in the mid-to-late 40s. By the age of 52, most U.S. women have undergone menopause.
In some cases, menopause is induced, or caused by injury or surgical removal of the ovaries and related pelvic structures.
Common causes of induced menopause include:
Additional blood tests commonly used to help confirm menopause include:
- vaginal atrophy
What Is Hormone Therapy
Hormone therapy consists of either oestrogen-only or a combined therapy of oestrogen and progestogen.;
If you have;had a hysterectomy ;and;wish to use hormone therapy, you can use oestrogen-only.
If you have;a uterus and wish to use hormone therapy, you;must use combined therapy as oestrogen-only can cause cancer in the endometrium . When progestogen is added the endometrium is protected.
For more information on hormone therapy, read the Family Planning Hormone Therapy pamphlet.
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At What Age Does A Woman Typically Reach Menopause
The average age of menopause is 51 years old. However, there is no way to predict when an individual woman will have menopause or begin having symptoms suggestive of menopause. The age at which a woman starts having menstrual periods is also not related to the age of menopause onset. Most women reach menopause between the ages of 45 and 55, but menopause may occur as earlier as ages 30s or 40s, or may not occur until a woman reaches her 60s. As a rough “rule of thumb,” women tend to undergo menopause at an age similar to that of their mothers.
Symptoms and signs related to the menopausal transition such as irregularities in the menstrual cycle, can begin up to 10 years prior to the last menstrual period.
What Are The Treatments For Menopause
First, its important to note that menopause is a biologically normal process that every aging woman will go through. Menopause cannot be prevented. While not all that go through menopause experience symptoms strong enough to warrant medical intervention, many women do report that intervention therapies can improve their quality of life and support reduction of the symptoms related to menopause. Due to the increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, many medical professionals do agree that there is benefit in treating the underlying causes of menopause, which are very commonly hormone imbalance.
Treatment by licensed physicians is recommended as they will frequently use hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and, sometimes, progesterone to lessen the effects ad support the treatment of the general symptoms of menopause. For some candidates, HRT is not best and trained practitioners can use other pharmaceutical and naturopathic approaches to ease the discomfort that can be associated with the symptoms of menopause.
Menopause symptoms should not stand in the way of you living a wonderful life. While they can be quite disheartening there are a number of treatment options which may be able to help you. There are many delivery mechanisms for these treatments including pills, creams, patches and pellets. Menopausal hormone therapy may be a great option for you.
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