How is Menopause Treated?
Natural menopause requires no treatment.
Treatment for menopause depends on factors like severity of the symptoms, overall health and preference of the woman. It may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Not all postmenopausal women need to be treated with HRT. Diet and lifestyle changes can reduce the severity of symptoms.
- Avoid smoking, caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. Women who smoke cigarettes experience menopause 1-2 years earlier than nonsmokers.
- Eat soy foods as soy contains estrogen.
- Eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D rich food to prevent osteoporosis.
- Vitamin E supplements can help relieve mild hot flashes.
- Exercise regularly. Kegel’s exercises help strengthen the pelvic and vaginal muscles.
- Deep breathing exercises can be helpful during hot flashes.
- Yoga, tai chi, acupuncture or meditation can also be helpful.
- To relieve the discomfort during sex, use water-based lubricants or a vaginal moisturizer.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
HRT is treatment with estrogen and sometimes progesterone.
HRT can help to reduce the undesirable symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes or mood swings and prevents osteoporosis after menopause. Surgical menopause also requires HRT.
However, HRT comes with the risk of breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes and blood clots; and is only recommended in women where the benefits outweigh the risks. To reduce the risk of endometrial cancer due to HRT, doctors may suggest adding progesterone to the estrogen.
Other medicines that help reduce mood swings, hot flashes, and other symptoms include:
- Clonidine, a blood pressure medicine is useful in women with hot flashes
- Gabapentin, a seizure drug helps reduce hot flashes.