Treatment of Menopause Symptoms
Are There Any Treatments for Symptoms of Menopause? continued...
More studies are under way to investigate the relationship between HRT and heart disease. In addition, many women may not be candidates for HRT. These women include those with current or past breast or uterine (endometrial) cancer, blood clots, liver disease, stroke, women who may be pregnant, or who have undiagnosed vaginal bleeding.
The current recommendations for women who are candidates for HRT due to moderate to severe symptoms of menopause is to take the lowest dose of hormones needed to relieve the symptoms of menopause and/or prevent osteoporosis. It is recommended to limit the use of the hormones to the shortest time period and, as with any prescription medication, HRT should be re-evaluated every six to 12 months. Hormonal patches, creams, gels, and vaginal rings may be alternatives to the traditional pills, depending on the symptoms.
If you are unable or do not want to take hormones, there are other medications that your doctor can prescribe to alleviate some of the symptoms of menopause. Medications originally used as antidepressants may help relieve hot flashes. These include low doses of fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and venlafaxine (Effexor). Other medications such as clonidine and gabapentin may help to reduce hot flashes related to menopause. These medications may also be used in addition to HRT in some cases. Also, the drugs Brisdelle (paroxetine) and Duavee (conjugated estrogens/bazedoxifene) are formulated specifically to treat hot flashes. Talk with your doctor about what is best for you.
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Alternative therapies. There are many unproven methods for alleviating menopausal symptoms, some of which may be more effective than others. Acupuncture, meditation, and relaxation techniques are all harmless ways to reduce the stress of menopause, and some people report great benefit from these practices. Many women also try herbal -- or natural -- remedies, like Remifemin (black cohosh), dong quai, and ginseng, although more research is needed to check their effectiveness and safety. Talk to your doctor before taking any of these therapies.
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