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Menopause Treatment

menopause treatments, acupuncture for menopause

Treatments and alternative treatments for menopause symptoms

Treatment with hormones may be helpful if you have severe symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood issues, or vaginal dryness.

Discuss the decision to take hormones thoroughly with your doctor, weighing your risks against any possible benefits. Pay careful attention to the many options currently available to you that do not involve taking hormones. Every woman is different. Your doctor should be aware of your entire medical history when considering prescribing hormone therapy.

If you have a uterus and decide to take estrogen, you must also take progesterone to prevent endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus). If you do not have a uterus, progesterone is not necessary.

HORMONE THERAPY

Several major studies have questioned the health benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy, including the risk of developing breast cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots.

Current guidelines support the use of HT for the treatment of hot flashes. Specific recommendations:

  • T may be started in women who have recently entered menopause.
  • HRT should not be used in women who started menopause many years ago.
  • The medicine should not be used for longer than 5 years.
  • Women taking HT should have a baseline low risk for stroke, heart disease, blood clots, or breast cancer.

To reduce the risks of estrogen therapy and still gain the benefits of the treatment, your doctor may recommend:

  • Using estrogen or progesterone regimens that do not contain the form of progesterone used in the study
  • Using a lower dose of estrogen or a different estrogen preparation (for instance, a vaginal cream rather than a pill)
  • Having frequent and regular pelvic exams and Pap smears to detect problems as early as possible
  • Having frequent and regular physical exams, including breast exams and mammograms

See also: Hormone therapy for more information about taking hormone therapy.

ALTERNATIVES TO HT

There are some medications available to help with mood swings, hot flashes, and other symptoms. These include low doses of antidepressants such as paroxetine (Paxil), venlafaxine (Effexor), bupropion (Wellbutrin), and fluoxetine (Prozac), or clonidine, which is normally used to control high blood pressure. Gabapentin is also effective for reducing hot flashes.

LIFESTYLE CHANGES

The good news is that you can take many steps to reduce your menopause symptoms without taking hormones:

  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods
  • Dress lightly and in layers
  • Eat soy foods
  • Get adequate calcium and vitamin D in food and/or supplements
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Perform Kegel exercises daily to strengthen the muscles of your vagina and pelvis
  • Practice slow, deep breathing whenever a hot flash starts to come on (try taking six breaths per minute)
  • Remain sexually active
  • See an acupuncture specialist
  • Try relaxation techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation
  • Use water-based lubricants during sexual intercourse

Premature Menopause – Get the Gist

It might be surprising for some to hear that others might experience premature menopause especially if you strictly associate this period in a woman’s life with an older age of about 40 and above. It’s a little disturbing as well to know that there might be instances when you yourself might be a candidate for this condition and you might experience it in the least expected earlier time of your life.

Indeed premature menopause does happen. On the average, a woman may experience such stoppage of the monthly period naturally between the age of 40 and 50. During this period, the ovaries no longer produce a mature egg and thus any preparatory event such as thickening of the lining of the uterus along with sudden surge of progesterone, no longer takes place. Since the surrounding tissues of the uterus will not change by addition of potential nourishment, the usual monthly period is also absent.

Is the Condition Natural?

Such a condition can be natural or induced by what is triggered by different things including ones genes, a medical procedure underwent by the concerned individual, and even serious medical conditions.

Commonly, one may tell if they are undergoing this condition through various symptoms. One obvious thing to be encountered is very little, irregular or missed monthly visits especially among those who have a normal menstrual cycle. Aside from irregular visits, too slow or too heavy blood flow may also indicate that your fertility is dropping too soon.

A sudden sensation of something hot enveloping your upper extremities is also another good sign to watch out for. Other related symptoms can be observed as well.

These include: lowered libido, sudden changes in ones mood, one easily gets depressed even if there is no particular reason to do so, incontinence or sudden loss of control on one’s peeing, drying vagina, relatively dry mouth, eyes and even skin, and sleeplessness.

Take a good look at your family background also proves to be helpful in assessing whether you are indeed undergoing such a condition or not. If an autoimmune disorder runs in the family, chances of you experiencing premature menopause is quite high. Women who have undergone chemotherapy or any form of radiation therapy also posses high risk of experiencing earlier fertility drop. Also, those who have direct family members who have experienced the same are likely to pass the same condition to you.