Treatment for menopause: What is it and why you may need it?

Menopause is a natural stage of life which all women will experience and is confirmed once a woman has not had a menstruation period for 12 consecutive months. It is caused by hormonal changes and a reduction in oestrogen (Hoffman, 2020). You may be considering, does a treatment for menopause exist. The answer is yes, but first you need to understand the symptoms of menopause (Hoffman, 2020; Peacock, 2022):
  • Blood vessel changes: About 75% of women in the menopausal transition may have blood vessel changes. These alterations are responsible for symptoms such as hot flushes, migraines, and other types of headaches.
  • Urogenital problems: Hormonal changes are responsible for vaginal changes. Up to 60% of women may experience vaginal dryness, decreased libido, frequent desire to urinate at night, among others.
  • Emotional changes: All of the above symptoms can cause stress and disturb sleep. When this happens, up to 45% of women experience emotional changes such as anxiety, irritability, decreased concentration and brain fog.
As you can see, the symptoms are very varied and quite common. But there are treatments which can help address all the symptoms:

Non-pharmacological treatment for menopause

A wide variety of habits and actions can be carried out to help reduce symptoms without resorting to medication or as a complement to it. Here you can find some options:

Focus on a balanced diet

Including specific vitamins and nutrients in your diet through food or supplements may help with menopausal symptoms. Some of these are (Groves, 2018):
  • Vitamin E.
  • Dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt containing vitamins D and K, and minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Healthy fats such as omega-3 can be found in fish and chia seeds, among others. Also, in the form of supplements.
  • Fibre-rich foods such as whole grains.
  • Fruits and vegetables of all kinds.
  • Other foods rich in phytoestrogens such as soy (NIH, 2017).

Relaxation exercises and techniques: a good treatment for menopause

There are a variety of disciplines that can help improve the symptoms of menopause, for example (Goldstein, 2016):
  • Yoga.
  • Meditation or relaxation techniques such as mindfulness.
  • Exercise plans such as walking, bicycling, lifting weights, playing sports, among others.

Changes in lifestyle

It is known that some of the most common symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes or difficulties sleeping, can be lessened through lifestyle changes. These changes can often be a great natural treatment of menopause. They include (NIH, 2021; NICHD, 2021):
  • Wear cool and loose clothes.
  • Keep in ventilated or air-conditioned environments.
  • Try to reduce the consumption of alcohol, coffee, or spicy foods.
  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Prioritise your sleep.
  • Avoid drinking a lot of fluids before going to sleep.
Treatment for menopause: What is it and why you may need it?

Medication for menopause

Using medical treatment for menopause brings many benefits and we advise you to speak to your Doctor to advise upon the most appropriate treatment for you (Flores, 2021). The primary treatment for menopause is hormone replacement therapy (Palacios, 2019). It replaces hormones that are at a lower level as you approach the menopause (NHS, 2022). There are different:
  • HRT hormones – most women take a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen, although women who do not have a womb can take oestrogen on its own
  • Ways of taking HRT – including tablets, skin patches, gels and vaginal creams, pessaries or rings
  • HRT treatment plans – HRT medicine may be taken without stopping, or used in cycles where you take oestrogen without stopping but only take progestogen every few weeks
In some instances, the use of medications can be beneficial, for example (NICHD, 2021; Hoffman, 2020):
  • In osteoporosis or weakening of the bones associated with menopause.
  • When vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes, night sweats, etc.) occur, they do not subside or are very bothersome.
  • As a treatment for vaginal dryness.
  • In women who are perimenopausal and have irregular periods or increased bleeding.
  • When difficulties falling asleep occur.
  • In primary ovarian insufficiency or early menopause (Torrealday, 2017).
In addition, other medications can be used in the company of the above to alleviate the signs and symptoms at this stage (Mayo Clinic, 2021). Each of the above therapies should be used considering individual characteristics. Menopause is a natural stage of life that can be accompanied by signs and symptoms that can sometimes be annoying. However, these symptoms can improve with menopausal treatment and other measures. Do not forget that medications must be prescribed by your Doctor. References Flores, V. A., Pal, L., & Manson, J. E. (2021). Hormone Therapy in Menopause: Concepts, Controversies, and Approach to Treatment. Endocrine reviews, 42(6), 720–752. https://doi.org/10.1210/endrev/bnab011 Groves, M. (2018). Menopause diet: How what you eat affects your symptoms. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/menopause-diet Goldstein, K. M., McDuffie, J. R., Shepherd-Banigan, M., Befus, D., Coeytaux, R. R., Van Noord, M. G., Goode, A. P., Masilamani, V., Adam, S., Nagi, A., & Williams, J. W., Jr (2016). Nonpharmacologic, nonherbal management of menopause-associated vasomotor symptoms: an umbrella systematic review (protocol). Systematic reviews, 5, 56. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-016-0232-6 Hoffman, B. L., Schorge, J. O., Halvorson, L. M., Hamid, C., Corton, M., & Schaffer, J. I. (2020). Williams Gynecology (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Menopausia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/diseases-conditions/menopause/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353401 NICHD. (2021). What are the treatments for other symptoms of menopause? Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menopause/conditioninfo/treatments NIH. (2021). Hot flashes: What can I do? National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/hot-flashes-what-can-i-do NIH. (2017). Menopausal symptoms: in-depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/menopausal-symptoms-in-depth Palacios, S., Stevenson, J. C., Schaudig, K., Lukasiewicz, M., & Graziottin, A. (2019). Hormone therapy for first-line management of menopausal symptoms: Practical recommendations. Women's health, 15. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745506519864009 Peacock, K., & Ketvertis, K. M. (2022). Menopause. StatPearls. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/ Torrealday, S., Kodaman, P., & Pal, L. (2017). Premature Ovarian Insufficiency - an update on recent advances in understanding and management. F1000Research, 6, 2069. https://doi.org/10.12688/f1000research.11948.1

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