It’s a fact of life that every woman experiences Menopause. Menopause affects every woman differently; for some, no specific treatment is required, but for others, it can be a challenging time dealing with symptoms such as hot flushes, mood swings, night sweats, and overall fatigue. Fortunately, there are both medical and natural treatments available which can help reduce the symptoms of menopause and make it more bearable. In this guide to treating menopause symptoms, we explore some of the options available.*
*This article has been written as a guide to treatment options. Each woman should receive an individualised, evidence-based treatment plan. Please consult your doctor for further advice on lifestyle changes and medication.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of the most common treatments for menopause symptoms. HRT involves using hormones to replace those lost during menopause and balance out hormone levels.
HRT has been linked to reducing the long-term risks associated with menopause, such as heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.
HRT has been shown to improve the quality of life in menopausal women by reducing symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. In addition to improving the quality of life emotionally, it can also reduce physical pain associated with menopause, such as joint pain or headaches. Many women also report improved sleep quality after taking HRT for menopause relief.
While this is an effective treatment for menopausal symptoms, it can cause potential side effects which vary from woman to woman.
For most women, the benefits of HRT use outweigh the risks if used appropriately. This will vary in each woman, depending on her baseline risks, lifestyle, diet, past medical history and family history. That’s why it is crucial that each woman has individualised treatment.
HRT has been linked to a slight risk of breast cancer. Research into this is ongoing, but it’s important to put into perspective that being overweight and inactive carry an even higher risk of breast cancer than HRT.
In women with specific risk factors, it can slightly increase the risk of stroke and blood clots. This is linked with tablet but not transdermal HRT (patch, gel) use. As such, it’s important to talk with your doctor or a health professional about your risk profile before taking any HRT medication.
NICE Guideline, Menopause: Diagnosis and Management November 2015
The infographic below illustrates a comparison of lifestyle risk factors versus Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) treatment. The difference in breast cancer incidence per 1,000 women aged 50-59. The approximate number of women developing breast cancer over the next five years. Source: Women’s Health Concern.
There are also non-hormonal therapies which may also help reduce the symptoms associated with menopause. These include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), antidepressants (such as SSRIs), acupuncture, yoga and mindfulness techniques. Each of these therapies has been shown to positively affect mood and energy levels in women experiencing menopausal symptoms.
In addition to medical treatments for menopause symptoms, lifestyle changes may help reduce the severity of these issues. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help keep your body healthy while reducing stress levels too!
Finally, getting enough sleep each night is essential for maintaining good physical and mental well-being during this time in your life.
Natural Therapies to Treat Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic Floor muscles and tissues can be weakened or damaged by pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, and as a result, some women may experience incontinence, pelvic pain, or sexual dysfunction.
Conducted by an osteopath or physiotherapist, Pelvic Floor therapy can help to strengthen and tone the muscles and tissues of the pelvis, relieving these symptoms.
While going through menopause can be an uncomfortable experience initially, it doesn’t have to be unmanageable! With the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes tailored to your needs, you can embrace these changes to manage your symptoms more effectively and get back to living a fulfilling life.
Be sure to speak with your doctor about the right treatment options for you.
Further information about menopause is available at the British Menopause Society, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the NHS.
This article was written as a guide and did not substitute medical advice. Please consult your doctor about any medical issues or for guidance on treatment options.
📍 Our Menopause GP service in Wimbledon, London, empowers women to take charge of their lives, introducing them to the evidence-based resources they need so that this stage can be an inspiring period full of potential. Book an initial consultation today.
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