Menopause Treatments

July 12, 2010

Menopause is not an illness so it doesn't necessitate medical treatment. When people speak of menopause treatments they refer to measures that are taken to reduce the signs and symptoms that come with this stage in your life. These treatments may also help to prevent or reduce the impact of chronic conditions that may arise as a result of the aging process. Such treatments include:

*Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)—Estrogen therapy is still considered the most effective menopause treatment, at least for relieving hot flashes. Your doctor may prescribe a very low dose of oral estrogen and work toward adjusting the dose to the one that is the minimum dose needed to give you relief for your symptoms.

Vaginal Dryness

Applied locally as a cream or through a vaginal tablet or ring, estrogen can relieve the symptoms of vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, and urinary symptoms. These treatment methods deliver a very small amount of estrogen which is absorbed well by the vaginal tissue.

*Antidepressants—Very low doses of Venlafaxine (Effexor), an antidepressant that is a type of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), can relieve hot flashes. There are other SSRI's that can be substituted including: fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa) and sertraline (Zoloft).

*Gabapentin (Neurontin)—This seizure treatment can give vast relief for hot flashes.

*Clonidine (Catapres)—This patch or pill was created to treat high blood pressure but reduces the frequency of hot flashes. The downside is that it causes many unpleasant side effects. 

*Bisphosphates—Your doctor may prescribe a medicine from this class to prevent or treat menopause-related bone loss (osteoporosis). Such medications include: alendronate (Fosamax), risedronate (Actonel) and ibandronate (Boniva).

*Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs)—These drugs can mimic the effect of estrogen on bone density in women after menopause. This class of drugs includes raloxifene (Evista).

Of course, before deciding on any course of treatment, you will need to speak with your doctor about your available options and the benefits and risks that come with them.

Natural Approach

Or perhaps you'd like to try a natural approach? There have been many natural treatments that have been said to help manage the symptoms of menopause. However, thus far, none of them have been proven to be of value when tested with scientific methods. Here are some of the natural and alternative treatments that have received some scientific scrutiny:

*Phytoestrogens

*Vitamin E

*Black cohosh

*Dong quai

*Licorice

*Chasteberry

*Wild yam

*Evening primrose

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