Menopause is not a disease; it is a natural transition in life from your childbearing years. The average age of onset for American women is 52. However, fluctuating estrogen levels can cause troublesome symptoms, and therefore, menopause treatments can go a long way toward making you more comfortable.
What is the best treatment for menopause? This depends upon each person’s individual situation and medical history. By working closely with our healthcare providers, we can provide the most effective plan tailored to fit your needs.
What Happens to Your Body During Menopause?
During menopause, your ovaries stop producing estrogen, which leads to common symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats and, the most obvious symptom, absence of a period.
You may also experience these symptoms in the years leading up to menopause, which is perimenopause:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Night sweats
- Mood swings
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal itching and dryness (which may lead to painful sex )
Menopause isn’t typically diagnosed by using tests. You are in menopause if it has been a year since your last period and you have not had any spotting for at least 12 consecutive months. You may also enter menopause any time you’ve had surgery to remove your ovaries.
What Triggers a Hot Flash?
Technically, a hot flash occurs when the lack of estrogen causes your body’s internal “thermometer” (a part of the brain called the hypothalamus) to become hypersensitive to any change in your body temperature—no matter how slight.
Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic believe that knowing the triggers of hot flashes may help you. These triggers can include:
- Spicy food
- Hot, humid weather
- Tight clothing
For more help, you may want to consider these lifestyle recommendations.
What Is the Best Treatment for Menopause?
Every woman is different. Based on her medical and family history as well as the intensity of her symptoms, several options are available for treatment.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine:
There are many products recommended for management of menopause. Not all of these have scientific evidence to back up their claims. However, some studies do show effectiveness for acupuncture and certain herbal products. We can help you navigate your options here, picking the best regimen tailored for safety and effectiveness.
Nonhormonal Prescription Medications:
Medications such as low doses of certain antidepressants or gabapentin can reduce hot flashes and night sweats by 50-70%. We can also help women sleep through their hot flashes with certain insomnia medications.
Hormone Replacement Therapy:
The North American Menopause society is the largest and most respected professional organization on the topic of menopause. They state that, for most symptomatic women, the benefits of HRT outweigh the risks of its use.
HRT provides the most effective relief of menopausal symptoms. We recommend the lowest effective dose of hormone replacement for the shortest duration needed. Many women “outgrow” their menopausal symptoms over time and find that they do not need HRT more than a few years.
Information around HRT use can be confusing and difficult to sort through. We can help sort through this information and provide clarity regarding the exact risks and benefits that treatment may provide.
Our Mission: To Help You Live the Healthiest Life at Any Age
Life is full of transitions, whether you’ve decided to try to become pregnant or you are entering the beginning stages of menopause. One thing remains the same: our unwavering dedication to you.
We consider patients like members of our own family, as we have treated generations of patients who have entrusted us with their care.
Are you experiencing hot flashes, insomnia or other indicators of menopause? Contact us today to schedule an appointment.