Menopause requires no medical treatment. Instead, treatments focus on relieving your signs and symptoms and preventing or managing chronic conditions that may occur with aging. Treatments may include:
- Hormone therapy. Estrogen therapy remains, by far, the most effective treatment option for relieving menopausal hot flashes. Depending on your personal and family medical history, your doctor may recommend estrogen in the lowest dose needed to provide symptom relief for you. If you still have your uterus, you'll need progestin in addition to estrogen. Estrogen also helps prevent bone loss. And hormone therapy may benefit your heart if started within five years after your last menstrual period.
- Vaginal estrogen. To relieve vaginal dryness, estrogen can be administered directly to the vagina using a vaginal cream, tablet or ring. This treatment releases just a small amount of estrogen, which is absorbed by the vaginal tissues. It can help relieve vaginal dryness, discomfort with intercourse and some urinary symptoms.
- Low-dose antidepressants. Certain antidepressants related to the class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may decrease menopausal hot flashes. A low-dose antidepressant for management of hot flashes may be useful for women who can't take estrogen for health reasons or for women who need an antidepressant for a mood disorder.
- Gabapentin (Neurontin). Gabapentin is approved to treat seizures, but it has also been shown to help reduce hot flashes. This drug is useful in women who can't use estrogen therapy and in those who also have migraines.
- Medications to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Depending on individual needs, doctors may recommend medication to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Several medications are available that help reduce bone loss and risk of fractures.
Before deciding on any form of treatment, talk with your doctor about your options and the risks and benefits involved with each. Review your options yearly, as your needs and treatment options may change.
Aug. 01, 2014
- Menopause. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/menopause. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Lethaby A, et al. Phytoestrogens for menopausal vasomotor symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001395.pub4/abstract. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed May 27, 2014.
- Nelson LM, et al. Clinical manifestation and evaluation of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Menopausal symptoms and complementary health practices. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/menopause/menopausesymptoms. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Lindh-Astrand L, et al. Effects of applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: A randomized controlled trial. Menopause. 2012;20:1.
- Colpani V, et al. Association between habitual physical activity and lower cardiovascular risk in premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women: A population-based study. Menopause. 2012;20:1.
- Rada G, et al. Non-hormonal interventions for hot flushes in women with a history of breast cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004923.pub2/abstract. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Daley A, et al. Exercise for vasomotor menopausal symptoms. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006108.pub3/abstract. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- For better sex: 3 ways to strengthen your pelvic floor. The Northern American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/for-women/menopauseflashes/for-better-sex-3-ways-to-strengthen-your-pelvic-floor. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- The North American Menopause Society. The 2012 hormone therapy position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause. 2012;19:257.
- MenoNote: Vaginal dryness. The North American Menopause Society. http://www.menopause.org/docs/for-women/mndryness.pdf. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Welt CK, et al. Pathogenesis and causes of spontaneous primary ovarian insufficiency (premature ovarian failure). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Welt CK, et al. Ovarian development and failure (menopause) in normal women. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT). Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/menopause/symptom-relief-treatment/menopausal-hormone-therapy.html. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Menopause and menopause treatments fact sheet. Office on Women's Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publication/fact-sheet/menopause-treatment.html. Accessed May 23, 2014.
- Committee on Gynecological Practice and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice Committee. Compounded bioidentical menopausal hormone therapy. ACOG. http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Gynecologic_Practice/Compounded_Bioidentical_Menopausal_Hormone_Therapy. Accessed May 22, 2014.
- Tella SR, et al. Prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2014;142:155.
- Eden JA. Phytoestrogens for menopausal symptoms: A review. Maturitas. 2012;72:157.
- Dodin S, et al. Acupuncture for menopausal hot flushes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007410.pub2/abstract. Accessed May 23, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.