With so many treatments available, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the options and resign to try a little bit of everything. We understand how frustrating this can be, which is why we created Bia. With a little guidance, we hope that we can save you time and money.
There are lots of menopause treatments available, but before we go through them in some more detail, it’s important to say that there is no one-size fits all. To get the best results, a personalised treatment plan is necessary, and unfortunately this often means a trial and error process of finding the best treatment combination.
In this article, we will discuss the different treatment options and offer a way of organising your menopause treatment plan.
Treatments broadly fall into 3 categories:
Medical treatments also include surgical therapies, however these are beyond the scope of this article.
Around menopause is the perfect time to reassess your personal goals, priorities and health. What does this look like? We are saying you should focus on yourself and your needs. Not only will this benefit your present and future wellbeing, it will also help you manage the situations and relationships around you.
We like to think of it like a champagne glass tower. You’re the glass on top, and the glasses below may be your children, family or relatives. The champagne is your energy and is first poured into your glass, before trickling into the other glasses. You need to prioritise your wellbeing for that positivity to flow to others.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common and effective treatment for menopause symptoms, with studies showing it helps in 80-90% of cases. When thinking about HRT, most people think of oestrogen and progesterone, but HRT can include androgens, such as testosterone too. There are over 50 types of oestrogen-based prescription treatments licensed worldwide, and many of them are available in the UK. Each one has different components, strengths, and ways of taking the drug. For example, HRT can be taken as a pill, patch, gel or vaginal cream.
Besides HRT other medications can also be prescribed, such as selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), clonidine and gabapentin. These medications are not as effective as HRT and should only be used in special circumstances, or if HRT isn't suitable. Future posts will cover these non-hormonal prescription treatments in more detail.
Besides prescription options, there are lots of non-prescription treatments and approaches to manage your menopause symptoms. Something we recommend to all women around menopause are supplements such as Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium. We advise you get as many of these nutrients from the food you eat, but especially in the Winter, supplements help to top up your diet.
Herbal remedies such as phytoestrogens or black cohosh are common and can be confusing. Most are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), meaning they are allowed to be sold as long as they meet a certain level of quality and safety. The regulation doesn't mean there is scientific evidence to show they are beneficial for treating symptoms – although many women report they are helpful. Always buy supplements from recognised retailers who acknowledge the MHRA's standards, such as Menopace.
Oil of evening primrose, ginseng and sage have been investigated for their benefits in relieving menopause symptoms. Unfortunately, none of these have been shown to work and are often no better than a placebo.
St. John's Wort, Dong quai, chasteberry, liquorice root and valerian root are also substances that have little evidence proving they are effective for symptoms. These herbal remedies can also affect the liver and other bodily functions, interacting with medication and causing dangerous effects. If you are taking any of these substances, please let your doctor know if you start a new medicine.