Because your body is constantly changing throughout perimenopause and menopause, treatments options may be appropriate at different times. Communication with a doctor that you trust is important; seeking a second opinion may be useful as well.
Some symptoms of menopausal transition or menopause may disappear on their own, as the body moves toward the post-menopausal stage. A variety of treatments are available, depending on the type of symptoms that you have. These include:
Birth control pills
During perimenopause, birth control pills may help with a number of symptoms, including heavy, excessive, or non-predictable periods, and hot flashes.
Estrogen creams, rings or tablets
The low dose of estrogens released into the vaginal area has a localized effect of rebuilding the lining of the vagina and urethra by promoting collagen production. These local hormones help maintain the muscle tone of the vagina and urethra, reduce vaginal dryness, irritation and pain, and they also reduce urinary tract irritation and tendency toward infection.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
Some women undergo hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause symptoms, and accompanying bone loss. However, risks of using hormone replacement include a greater increase in blood clots, breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that women in perimenopause and, to the lesser extent, post-menopausal women use hormone replacement therapy for the shortest time necessary at the lowest dosage appropriate.
Some women find that smoking aggravates hot flashes, while others find that regular exercise helps reduce feelings of anxiety or depression that may accompany the body's changing hormones. Eating healthy, exercising, not smoking or drinking alcohol, reducing stress, etc. can all play a role in affecting the severity of menopausal symptoms.
Perimenopause and menopause can sometimes be associated with other conditions, and your doctor may recommend treatments for these. For example, your doctor may recommend taking calcium pills together with Vitamin D to help offset the possibility of developing osteoporosis. Or, if you are experiencing anxiety or mild depression, anti-depressants may be prescribed. Because there are numerous conditions that affect the body as one ages, be sure to be clear in your communication with your doctor.
Herbs such as black cohosh, dong quai, valerian root, and wild yam contain chemicals that might act like the three different types of estrogen (estradiol, estron and estriol). As with any potential treatment, talk with your doctor before taking them.
Some women have found success with easing mild hot flashes by eating soy. However, large amounts of soy may aggravate estrogen-dependent breast cancer. To make sure that you are not at risk, talk with your doctor
Perimenopause and menopause are natural, normal parts of every woman's life. Some women even welcome the end of menstrual cycles. Every woman can live a happy, enjoyable life after menopause, but paying attention to your body's changing needs is an important way to start. Because of the various treatments available during this time of change, perimenopause and menopause are perfect opportunities to live a more healthy life by eating, exercising, and living well.