An in-depth report on the treatment of menopause-related symptoms.
Estrogen; Hormone replacement therapy
Menopause is a natural process that occurs as a woman's ovaries stop producing eggs and the production of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) declines. Menopause can also occur if a woman's ovaries are damaged by certain diseases or cancer treatments, or if they are surgically removed.
Natural menopause usually develops gradually between the ages of 45 to 55. During this transition time, called "perimenopause," menstrual periods become more irregular and begin to taper off. After menstrual periods have stopped for 12 months, a woman is considered to have reached menopause. On average, American women reach menopause around the age of 51, but menopause can occur at younger or older ages.
During perimenopause, women may have various symptoms. Symptoms differ among women, and may range from mild to severe. Hot flashes, an intense sudden build-up of body heat, are the most common symptom. Some women have no symptoms.
Menopause is a natural condition. It is not a disease that needs medical treatment. However, some women seek treatment for the relief of perimenopausal symptoms.
Hormone therapy (HT) is the most effective drug treatment for hot flashes, but long-term use can increase the risks of breast cancer. Blood clots in the legs or lungs are more common while on estrogen. Some studies show increased or decreased risk of cardiac disease and stroke with estrogen use. Therefore, doctors recommend that women who use HT should take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time.
Women who have a uterus are prescribed estrogen- progestogen therapy (EPT). Women who do not have a uterus take estrogen alone (ET). HT comes in different forms including pills, patches, creams, sprays, and vaginal suppository rings and tablets.