If you are struggling with common symptoms of menopause, you may wish to seek treatment. While these symptoms are usually not dangerous and are simply a part of the aging process for women, you may find that they are interrupting your daily life. If so, your doctor may be able to help with menopause treatment options.
Treatment for Early Menopause Symptoms
Symptoms seen early in menopause, like hot flashes and mood swings, may need to be treated if they are interfering with a normal quality of life. Early in menopause, you and your doctor should discuss your first signs of menopause and whether you need to seek menopause treatments.
If your symptoms are really bothering you, and you are not at a high risk for breast cancer and have never had a serious heart condition, stroke or blood clot, you may be able to use estrogen supplements for a few years to manage your symptoms. However, estrogen is not without its risks. It can increase risks of uterine cancer if taken alone. When combined with progesterone, which protects the uterus, it can be an effective way to relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. Other non-hormonal treatments are available as well. These may include:
- Lubricants or vaginal estrogen deposits to combat dryness
- SSRI drugs for depression and hot flashes
- Counseling to help with mood changes
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
For women who want the benefit of estrogen treatment without the dangers of hormone treatment, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or SERMs, may provide a solution. These drugs, including tamoxifen and raloxifene, act like estrogen in some body tissue. These can help lower the risk of breast cancer and osteoporosis, but they do not help with hot flashes and can increase the risk of uterine cancer.
Lifestyle Changes with Menopause Treatment
Some of the symptoms of menopause are better treated through lifestyle changes. Exercise and a healthy diet with an adequate amount of calcium help lessen osteoporosis and heart disease risks. Other lifestyle changes to consider include:
- Stop smoking
- Lower alcohol consumption
- Aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days per week
- Healthy weight management
- Yearly mammogram
- Stress management
Treatment Later in Menopause
Menopause treatment options change as you progress through the process. In later menopause, your goal for menopause treatments is less to manage outward symptoms, which are starting to lessen, and more a focus on preventing diseases, like heart disease and osteoporosis, that are more of a risk later in the process. A variety of medications can help with osteoporosis and bone loss problems, and some heart conditions can also be treated with medications.
Whether your goal is to lower your risk of future health problems or to improve your quality of life during the menopause process, a variety of menopause treatments exist. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for your specific needs.