treatment and HRT
Most women have heard good and bad reports about hormone
replacement therapy (HRT). This form of menopause treatment is worth
considering as newer formulations have fewer side effects. HRT is an effective
menopause treatment because it replaces natural hormones, restoring the normal,
pre-menopausal levels. HRT is prescribed to suit your age and circumstances:
- Women who have had a hysterectomy and also had
their ovaries removed are usually offered HRT containing only the hormone
oestrogen as their main menopause treatment.
- If you still have your ovaries and womb and are
experiencing periods now and again, you will be offered cyclical HRT, which
contains oestrogen and progesterone. This menopause treatment will restore
monthly periods but some types allow a bleed only once every three months, just
to prevent too much thickening of the womb lining.
- Post-menopause treatment with HRT is given
continuously as there is no need for a bleed to prevent build up of the lining
of the womb.
You can take HRT as a tablet but it is equally effective
when a hormone implant or skin patch is used.
Non-hormonal menopause treatments can also tackle the
individual symptoms of the menopause:
is works in a similar way to HRT but does not contain either of the human sex
hormones. This synthetic hormone is really only suitable as a menopause
treatment in women whose periods have become very irregular but who are still
being troubled by hormonal symptoms. Taking tibolone puts a stop to all periods
and is very good at reducing hot flushes, night sweats and psychological
is also used to specifically target hot flushes and sweating. This drug was
originally developed for treating high blood pressure but is effective as a
menopause treatment in some women.
lubricants can be bought over the counter as needed and Replens, a vaginal
moisturiser is available on prescription. Vaginal dryness does not ease once
the menopause is over and this menopause treatment is safe enough to use as
long as you need it.
can be prescribed as menopause treatments to tackle hot flushes and sweating
and also help to reduce some of the mood swings that are common on some
menopausal women. Drugs such as fluoxetine (Prozac®) can be useful for women
who are either unsuitable for HRT or artificial hormonal menopause treatments
or who don’t want to take hormones.
Some women dislike the idea of drugs to deal with the
natural event of the menopause. This may explain why so few see their GP about
possible menopause treatment options. If you are really against taking medical
treatment, there are some alternative ways of coping. Making positive lifestyle
changes is worth doing even if you are prescribed HRT or one of the other
medical menopause treatments:
- Taking more exercise can reduce the frequency of
hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings.
- Eating a better diet – particularly one that is
rich in calcium is a good idea as this will protect against the risk of
osteoporosis (brittle bones) after the menopause.
- Cutting down on alcohol – drinking even a glass
of wine or two can make flushing and palpitations much worse.
- Practicing relaxation techniques can help you deal
with the stress of menopause.
There are also suggestions that eating more soy based
products can help because they contain phyto-oestrogens – substances that mimic
human sex hormones. There is not a great deal of experimental medical evidence
that they work but Japanese women, whose diet is very high in soy rarely report
hot flushes at the menopause.