Menopause Treatment 101


Although menopause is a normal biological phenomenon, its symptoms can be harsh, which always prompts the need for medical treatment. In this blog post, we will be discussing treatment options for patients that are experiencing perimenopause symptoms or post-menopausal symptoms as a result of a surgical hysterectomy.

What is Menopause?
Menopause is the term used to describe the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. It is diagnosed after a woman has gone 12 months without a menstrual period. Menopause can occur in your 40s or 50s, but in the United States, the average age is 52. Perimenopause, on the other hand, means “around menopause” and refers to the time when your body naturally transitions to menopause, signaling the end of one’s reproductive years. Perimenopause is also known as the menopausal transition. The years following menopause are referred to as post-menopause.
Menopause is a normal part of the female reproductive system. As they approach menopause, however, many women experience physical symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and decreased sex drive. Anxiety, mood fluctuations, and a decrease in sex drive are all possible side effects. These symptoms can occur before or after menstruation and can last for months or years. This can have a variety of effects on a person’s quality of life. However, there are methods for dealing with these symptoms.

Symptoms of Menopause and Perimenopause
Some of the symptoms and changes that occur during perimenopause and menopause include:

  • Irregular menstruation: The first sign that menopause is approaching is when your periods become less regular. They may emerge more or less frequently than usual, and they may be heavier or lighter in weight.
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort: During perimenopause, dryness, itching, and discomfort in the vaginal area can start and remain until menopause. A person with any of these symptoms may experience chafing and discomfort during vaginal intercourse. Additionally, infection is a hazard if the skin breaks.
  • Hot flashes: Around the time of menopause, hot flashes are prevalent. They induce a person to experience a sudden feeling of warmth in the upper body. The sensation may begin in the face, neck, or chest and move up or down.
  • Lower fertility: Estrogen levels begin to diminish as a woman approaches the end of her reproductive years but before menopause. This lowers the likelihood of getting pregnant.
  • Sleep disturbances: During menopause, anxiety, nocturnal sweats, and an increased desire to urinate can all contribute to sleep problems. These issues can be helped by getting lots of exercises and avoiding big meals before bedtime.

Some other symptoms of menopause include emotional changes, trouble focusing and learning, physical changes and increased risk of some other health conditions such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease or breast cancer.

Menopause Treatment
Ordinarily, menopause requires no treatment. However, the symptoms of menopause can be harsh, and this calls for treatment to alleviate the pain. The menopause treatment we will be discussing is divided into three: medical, lifestyle and home remedies and alternative medicine.

Medical Treatment
Medical treatments are the best forms of menopause treatments. Some of these include, hormone therapy, vaginal estrogen, anti-depressants, Clonidine or Gabapentin. They will be discussed below.

Menopausal hormone therapy
For menopausal hot flashes, estrogen therapy is the most effective therapeutic choice. Your doctor may prescribe estrogen at the lowest dose and for the shortest time to give symptom relief for you, based on your personal and family medical history. You’ll need progestin in addition to estrogen if you still have your uterus. Estrogen also aids in the prevention of bone loss. Long-term hormone therapy use has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer, while some women have reported benefits from commencing hormones around menopause.
Vaginal hormone and non-hormone treatments.

For the symptoms of vaginal estrogen deficiency, there are also local (that is, applied directly to the vagina) hormonal therapy. The vaginal estrogen ring (Estring), vaginal estrogen cream, or vaginal estrogen tablets are all local therapies. For this reason, local and oral estrogen therapies are sometimes combined.
Non-hormonal methods for controlling the discomfort of vaginal dryness include vaginal moisturizing agents like as creams or lotions (for example, K-Y Silk-E Vaginal Moisturizer or KY Liquibeads Vaginal Moisturizer) and the use of lubricants during intercourse.

Low-dose antidepressants
Certain antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown to reduce menopausal hot flashes. Women who can’t take estrogen for health concerns or who need an antidepressant for a mood condition may benefit from a low-dose antidepressant for hot flashes management.

Other Medications

  • Clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay).
  • Clonidine, a tablet or patch that is commonly used to treat high blood pressure, may help with hot flashes.
  • Gabapentin (Gralise, Horizant, Neurontin). Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant drug that has also been demonstrated to aid with hot flashes. This medication is beneficial for women who are unable to use estrogen therapy and who experience nighttime hot flashes.

Alternative Medicine
Many methods have been advertised as aids in treating menopause symptoms, but few of them are backed up by scientific research. We’ll go through some of them briefly because they don’t have a lot of scientific basis.

Plant estrogens (phytoestrogens)
Natural estrogens can be found in a variety of foods. Isoflavones and lignans are the two main forms of phytoestrogens. Soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes contain isoflavones. Flaxseed, whole grains, and some fruits and vegetables contain lignans. It’s still unclear whether the estrogens in these foods can help with hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, but most researchers have found them to be unsuccessful. Isoflavones have estrogen-like properties, so if you’ve had breast cancer, see your doctor before taking isoflavone supplements. The herb sage is known to contain estrogen-like properties, and there’s evidence that it can help women deal with the symptoms of menopause.

Bioidentical hormones
These hormones are derived from plants. The phrase “bioidentical” refers to hormones that are chemically identical to those produced by your body. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a few commercially accessible bioidentical hormones. However, because many medicines are compounded — that is, prepared in a pharmacy according to a doctor’s prescription — and not controlled by the FDA, quality and hazards may vary. In terms of alleviating menopause symptoms, there is no scientific proof that bioidentical hormones are any better than standard hormone therapy. There’s also no proof that they’re less dangerous than standard hormone therapy.
Other types of alternative medicine include: Yoga, Black cohosh, Cupuncture, Acupuncture, and Hypnosis.

Home Remedies & Lifestyle
Many of the signs and symptoms of menopause, fortunately, are just temporary or even not that serious. For temporary and less painful discomfort and hot flashes, these are some home remedies and lifestyle changes that can help.

  • Reduce vaginal discomfort. You can use a water-based vaginal lubricant (Astroglide, K-Y jelly, Sliquid, and others) or a silicone-based lubricant or moisturizer (Replens, K-Y Liquibeads, Sliquid, others). If you’re sensitive to glycerin, you might want to look for a product that doesn’t include it, as it might cause burning or irritation. By increasing blood flow to the vagina, staying sexually active also helps with vaginal discomfort.
  • Cool hot flashes. Dress in layers, drink a cold glass of water, or find a cooler location. Try to figure out what makes you have hot flashes. Hot beverages, caffeine, spicy meals, alcohol, stress, hot weather, and simply a warm environment can all be triggers for many women.
  • Consume a well-balanced diet. Include a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Saturated fats, oils, and sweets should all be avoided. If you need calcium or vitamin D supplements to help you reach your daily requirements, talk to your doctor.
  • Get enough sleep. Avoid coffee, which can make it difficult to fall asleep, and excessive alcohol consumption, which can disrupt sleep. Exercising during the day, but not directly before bedtime, is recommended. If your sleep is being disrupted by hot flashes, you may need to find a means to deal with them before you can get enough rest.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking raises your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, cancer, and a variety of other illnesses. It may also cause hot flashes and hasten the onset of menopause. To help guard against heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other aging-related illnesses, engage in regular physical activity or exercise on most days.
  • Exercise regularly. To help guard against heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other aging-related illnesses, engage in regular physical activity or exercise on most days.
    Kegel exercises, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, can help with urine incontinence.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, timed breathing, guided visualization, massage, and gradual muscle relaxation are among techniques that can aid with menopausal symptoms. Different relaxation techniques can be found in a variety of books and online services.

There is no doubt that menopause, perimenopause, and postmenopausal symptoms can be harsh to some women. Because of this, medical procedures have been created to alleviate the pain these symptoms can bring, most notable of which is hormone therapy. Other medical methods can also be used to treat menopause, such as vaginal hormone treatments, anti-depressants, lifestyle changes and even alternative medicine.

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