Many women do not need treatment for their menopause symptoms. You may find that your symptoms go away by themselves. Or you may not find the symptoms uncomfortable. If you are bothered by your symptoms, talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to relieve them. You can work together to find a treatment that is right for you. Some women find that changing their eating habits and getting more physical activity can help. Others may need medicine to help relieve their symptoms.
If your menopause symptoms bother you, talk to your doctor or nurse. Your doctor or nurse can suggest medicines to help with your symptoms. All medicines have risks, and your doctor can help you figure out which medicines are best for you.
Menopausal hormone therapy is prescription medicine to help relieve your menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, if they are severe enough to disrupt your daily life. Menopausal hormone therapy is sometimes called hormone therapy or hormone replacement therapy.
During menopause, your ovaries make very low levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopausal hormone therapy replaces some of the hormones no longer made by your ovaries with artificial estrogen and progesterone.
Topical (TOP-ih-kuhl) hormone therapy is usually a low-dose estrogen cream applied directly to the vagina. It relieves vaginal dryness but does not help with other symptoms, such as hot flashes. It also is available as a vaginal ring, insert, and gel. The risks of topical hormone therapy are different from the risks of menopausal or hormone replacement therapy.
Menopausal hormone therapy, sometimes called hormone replacement therapy, is safe for some women, but it also has risks. That is why the FDA advises women who want to try menopausal hormone therapy to use the lowest dose that works for the shortest time needed.
Research shows that:1
Menopausal hormone therapy may not be safe for some women. You should discuss your risks with your doctor if you have:2
The FDA recommends that women take estrogen-only or estrogen plus progesterone menopausal hormone therapy at the lowest dose that works for the shortest time needed.
Talk to your doctor to weigh the risk and benefits of menopausal hormone therapy based on your symptoms, age, and risk factors.
Companies that make bioidentical hormone therapy use the term bioidentical to suggest that their products are exactly the same as natural hormones. Many of these companies also claim that their products are safer than menopausal hormone therapy. However, the FDA does not recognize this term or regulate these products. No studies have been done to evaluate how safe or effective these products are.
Read moreabout bioidentical hormone therapy. Talk to your doctor or nurse before trying any bioidentical hormone therapy.
Some women report relief for hot flashes and other menopause symptoms with complementary or alternative therapies. Talk to your doctor or nurse before taking any herbal or vitamin supplement. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements in the same way they regulate medicines. Many supplements can interfere with medicines and make them work incorrectly or not at all.
Some research studies show relief from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms with these herbal supplements, but other studies do not. Many herbal supplements should not be used with other medicines. Some herbal supplements women use for menopause symptoms are:3
Research continues on these and other alternative ways of relieving menopause. Talk to your doctor or nurse before trying natural remedies.
This content is provided by the Office on Women’s Health.
Menopause treatment | womenshealth.gov
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