Looking for menopause treatments that actually work? We’ve got you covered. We’ll take you through the options on the table.
From your temperature to mood to moisture levels (hello, night sweats!), menopause and the time surrounding it can leave you feeling out of control.
You don’t have to simply struggle through this.
Finding treatment for menopause symptoms can help you manage the day-to-day and get to sleep at night.
First up, menopause isn’t an illness.
Instead, it’s a chapter of life that happens to everyone who ovulates.
So it’s not a matter of finding a cure.
It’s about making this transition more comfortable for you.
The good news is there are various menopause treatment options out there that can really help.
In this article: 📝
- What is first line treatment for menopause?
- What is the best treatment for menopause?
- What is the safest treatment for menopause?
- How can I treat menopause naturally?
- Treatment for menopause: the bottom line
What is first line treatment for menopause?
Step one is to talk to your doctor.
Together, you can assess what might be appropriate for your specific set of symptoms.
For some people, medication can really help.
For others, lifestyle changes and stress-reduction techniques can go a long way.
Many menopause symptoms are caused by the changing hormones in your body at this time.
Estrogen and progesterone, our key sex hormones, can go through a particularly turbulent time before dropping to low levels.
That’s why hormonal therapies that help regulate things are common treatments.
But they are risky for some people, so navigating this journey with your healthcare provider is essential.
If hormonal treatments aren’t right for you, don’t despair.
There are other options that have proven to help.
We’ll take you through all the details below.
What is the best treatment for menopause?
Your treatment will be based on the symptoms you’re experiencing.
Here are the most common ones:
Hot flashes and night sweats
Known collectively as vasomotor symptoms, issues with temperature control are an infamous part of the menopause transition for many women.
Hot flashes feel like surges of heat in your upper body, typically your face and neck.
They may be followed by the chills.
You may also have heart palpitations and feelings of anxiety.
And when these sensations happen at night they’re called night sweats and, yep, they can certainly disrupt your sleep.
Luckily, there are various treatments that can help:
Menopausal hormonal therapy
Scientists have discovered that estrogen withdrawal and hot flashes are linked.
(Estrogen isn’t the only thing at play, and the role of other hormones like the luteinizing hormone (LH) in temperature regulation is still being explored.)
For many women, supplementing estrogen levels with hormone treatment can help.
But taking estrogen increases the risk of cancer of the endometrium (the lining of the uterus).
So if you still have your uterus, progesterone will be prescribed alongside estrogen.
That’s because it works to thin the lining of the uterus and stave off the risk of cancer.
Estrogen-only treatment comes in various forms, including pills, creams, patches, and sprays.
Progesterone comes in pills and patches.
You may either take progesterone and estrogen separately or as a medication that combines the two in one.
Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment based on your specific symptoms.
Antidepressants called selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to treat hot flashes.
And one of them in particular — a medication called paroxetine — has been approved by the FDA for this purpose.
The research is young on this one, but it’s really promising.
Practices like yoga and mindfulness meditation appear to have positive effects on a range of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes.
And even if it doesn’t take the flashes away, these practices have been proven to reduce stress and improve mood — all very welcome in this chapter of life (and always).
That said, if you are dealing with serious symptoms of depression and anxiety, other forms of treatment are likely necessary. We’ll take you through the options below.
Whether you go the medication route or not, there are lifestyle changes that you can make to improve your levels of comfort.
First, know thy triggers.
If you find that alcohol and/or spicy food send your temperature levels off the charts, it’s probably best to avoid these.
Then, leave home prepared.
That means layering up your clothing and possibly carrying a portable fan or a bottle of water.
And if you’re experiencing night sweats, sleeping with an ice pack under your pillow can help to keep things cool.
If you wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night, simply turning the pillow over can be incredibly refreshing.
If you’re feeling irritable, anxious, and blue right now, you’re not alone.
As the North American Menopause Society tells us, it’s common to be feeling that way during the menopause transition.
Hormones are at play here, as are the many other stressors that come with this chapter of life.
You may be dealing with career or family challenges or feeling out of sorts about the complicated process of aging.
If you were still wanting to have children, this phase of life could also come with a sense of grief.
Mind-body practices can really help.
Also, take the time to do things you truly enjoy — whether that’s going for a walk in nature, painting a picture, or dancing with your friends (or by yourself).
But while mood changes are common during the menopause transition, some people may be more at risk of developing a major depressive disorder over this period of life.
This is a serious medical condition that requires treatment.
If you are feeling low and sad, are no longer enjoying activities you used to, are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt, or are having suicidal thoughts, it’s really important to talk to your doctor.
There is help available in the form of medication and therapy.
You are not alone.
We take you through the details of menopause and depression [here].
As estrogen levels decrease, your vaginal walls may become thin and dry.
This can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
Hormonal treatment can be effective in treating vaginal dryness and comes in various forms, including pills and vaginal creams and rings.
You’ll need to get these prescribed by your doctor.
There are also various OTC creams and lubricants that can help with pain and discomfort.
And you know what else helps?
Full permission to go shopping for a new favorite sex toy.
If you need some help deciding which one, we’ve got you covered. 💥
Menopause and sleep are not always happy bedfellows.
Between night sweats and mood changes, it can be hard to get to sleep and stay asleep.
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea also become more common as we age.
Try to set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
(That goes for weekends, too.)
Go to be in a dedicated sleep space that’s cool and dark — without your devices too close.
And avoid anything like caffeine and alcohol that might impact your sleep.
But sometimes, no matter what you do, sleep just doesn’t come.
If this is the case for you, chat with your doctor about sleep aids.
Hormone treatments, for example, may have a positive effect on your sleep.
If your sleep trouble is related to another condition, getting to the source can really help.
If you are feeling anxious or depressed, mental health treatments like medication and therapy can help you get a good night’s sleep.
And while research is still ongoing, melatonin — the sleep hormone our bodies produce naturally — can be taken as a supplement to support sleep.
What is the safest treatment for menopause?
Both hormonal and non-hormonal medications have risks and are not appropriate for everyone.
Hormonal treatments can come with a bunch of serious side effects, including an increased risk of heart disease, blood clots, cancer, and strokes.
So they are not a good idea for everyone — and are likely not a good option for those who already have a high-risk profile for these conditions.
How can I treat menopause naturally?
There are various menopause treatment OTC options that are advertised as effective “natural” remedies for menopause.
But it’s important to speak to your doctor before using them.
That’s because many of them are not backed by enough research regarding both how risky and effective they are.
We’ll take you through the details here.
Treatment for menopause: the bottom line
Wherever you’re at, you don’t have to stay there. There is help available.
And, we know.
This time can feel quite isolating.
Our menopause community is here for you. We’re having the conversation.
Wishing you all the best.