Menopause is a natural event in a woman's life. Menopause occurs when there has been a change in a woman's reproductive hormones and the ovaries no longer release any eggs. It usually happens between the ages of 45 and 55. Menopause can cause symptoms that interfere with your daily life. This information explains how treatment can help ease the symptoms.
Menopause symptoms vary but generally include hot flushes, changes to your vagina, mood swings and changes in body weight.
Treatments for menopause depends on your symptoms and can include:
- lifestyle changes (such as wearing loose clothing if sweating is a problem)
- over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
- prescription medicines
Types of menopause medicines
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT): This is the most common medical treatment for the symptoms of menopause. It works by replacing the hormone oestrogen (and sometimes progesterone). You can take it as a pill, patch, gel or vaginal cream or pessary. HRT is now called Menopausal Hormone Therapy (MHT).
Tibolone (Livial): This is a synthetic (artificial) hormone that has a similar action to oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Tibolone is not linked to breast cancer in women who have never had breast cancer, but it is not recommended for women who have had breast cancer before.
Antidepressants: May be prescribed to help reduce hot flushes, especially if you don’t want to or can’t take MHT.
Important information about menopause medication
All medicines can have side effects. For women suffering from menopause symptoms, the risks need to be weighed up against the benefits.
However, research has shown that MHT can slightly increase the risk of developing some cancers, including breast cancer. It has also been linked to thrombosis (blood clots in the legs or lungs) and stroke in some women.
If you decide to use MHT, then take the lowest dose to reduce your symptoms and regularly see your doctor to review it.
Before taking menopause medicines, you may wish to ask your doctor about:
- their side effects
- their benefits
- what to do if you miss a dose
- what to do if you experience side effects
Talk to your doctor if you feel unwell when taking your medicines.
Do not change your medicines or stop taking them without talking to your doctor.
Looking for more information about medicines?
healthdirect’s medicines section allows you to search for medicines by brand name or active ingredient. It provides useful information about medicines such as their use, whether they are available on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and product recalls.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: September 2019