Eating a healthy diet and exercising at menopause and beyond are important to feeling your best. Most women do not need any special treatment for menopause. But some women may have menopause symptoms that need treatment. Several treatments are available. It’s a good idea to talk about the treatments with your doctor so you can choose what’s best for you. There is no one treatment that is good for all women. Sometimes menopause symptoms go away over time without treatment, but there’s no way to know when.
Hormone therapy (HT) — If used properly, hormone therapy (once called hormone replacement therapy or HRT) is one way to deal with the more difficult symptoms of menopause. It’s the only therapy that is approved by the government for treating more difficult hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Hormone therapy should NOT be used solely to prevent heart or bone disease, stroke, memory loss, or Alzheimer’s disease. There are many kinds of hormone therapies so your doctor can suggest what’s best for you. As with all treatments, HT has both possible benefits and possible risks; it is important to talk about these issues with your doctor. If you decide to use HT, use the lowest dose that helps and for the shortest time needed. Check with your doctor every 6 months to see if you still need HT. For more information on the benefits and risks of HT, go to http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/women/index.htm.
HT can help with menopause by:
- Reducing hot flashes
- Treating vaginal dryness
- Slowing bone loss
- Improving sleep (and thus decrease mood swings)
For some women, HT may increase their chance of:
- Blood clots
- Heart attack
- Breast cancer
- Gall bladder disease