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
Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, is the most common medical treatment for the symptoms of menopause. They work by replacing the hormone oestrogen (and sometimes progesterone).
This is a synthetic (artificial) hormone that has a similar action to oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Antidepressants may be prescribed to help reduce hot flushes, especially if you don’t want to or can’t take HRT.
Important information about menopause medication
All medicines can have side effects. Mostly the side effects of menopause medicines are not serious.
A recent review of evidence has found that HRT is an effective and safe treatment to relieve menopause symptoms for healthy women.
However, it has been previously suggested by some research that HRT may slightly increase the risk of developing some cancers, thrombosis (blood clots in the legs or lungs) and stroke in some women. Such as those who have had breast cancer or heart disease or those have who a higher risk of developing breast cancer or heart disease. More recently, many experts dispute the importance of this research, and if a woman is experiencing unpleasant symptoms, HRT is a reasonable treatment option.
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.
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Last reviewed: February 2018