Menopause and Perimenopause - Topic Overview
Do you need treatment?
Menopause is a natural part
of growing older. You don't need treatment for it unless your symptoms bother
you. But if your symptoms are upsetting or uncomfortable, you don't have to
suffer through them. There are treatments that can help.
step is to have a healthy lifestyle. This can help reduce symptoms and also
lower your risk of heart disease and other long-term problems related to
- Make a special effort to eat well. Choose a
heart-healthy diet that is low in saturated fat. It should include plenty of fish,
fruits, vegetables, beans, and high-fiber grains and breads.
- Eat a nutritious diet and be sure you are getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D to help your bones stay strong. Low-fat or nonfat dairy products are a great source of
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can help you manage your
weight, keep your heart and bones strong, and lift your mood.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and stress. These things can make symptoms worse.
Limiting them may help you sleep better.
- If you smoke, stop.
Quitting smoking can reduce hot flashes and long-term health risks.
If lifestyle changes aren't enough to relieve your
symptoms, you can try other measures, such as breathing exercises and yoga.
If you have severe symptoms, you may want to ask your
doctor about prescription medicines. Choices include:
- Low-dose birth control pills before
hormone therapy (HT) after menopause.
- A medicine called clonidine
(Catapres) that is usually used to treat high blood pressure.
All medicines for menopause symptoms have possible risks
or side effects. A very small number of women develop serious health problems
when taking hormone therapy. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your possible
health risks before you start a treatment for menopause symptoms.
Remember, it is still possible to become pregnant until you reach
menopause. To prevent an unwanted pregnancy, keep using birth control until you
have not had a period for 1 full year.