Menopause can bring about bodily changes that range from mildly irritating to severely uncomfortable. Many women experience hot flashes, night sweats, tiredness, and irritability. In some cases, the symptoms can be overwhelming — about a fourth of women experience extreme menopause.
Lifestyle and diet changes can ease milder symptoms. But you may benefit from menopause medicine if you have moderate to severe symptoms.
What’s the Best Menopause Medicine for You?
If you choose to take medication for menopause symptoms, there are several to choose from — and they each work in different ways. One of the most common treatments is estradiol medication.
During menopause, your estrogen levels fall. Estradiol is the main form of estrogen that your body naturally produces; it’s responsible for proper sexual function and bone health.
An estradiol medicine provides low doses of estrogen to counteract menopause symptoms. This relief can come in pills, patches, or tablets, among other forms. Estrace, Divigel, Estrogel, and Vivelle Dot or Minivelle patches are some of the most common names for estradiol.
If you still have your uterus, you’ll need to take a dose of Progesterone in addition to estrogen. Progesterone would balance the estrogen in the body and may help prevent uterine cancer.
Some women can’t take estrogen for health reasons. If you’ve had a stroke, heart attack, clots, breast cancer, or uterine cancer, hormone medication can increase the risk of having dangerous side effects. But there are other medications to help you reduce your hot flashes and night sweats. Some include gabapentin (known as Neurontin) and clonidine (known as Catapres).
Here’s a breakdown.
Estrace is estrogen in a pill form, topical gel or Vaginal Cream. This menopause medicine can help reduce hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and vaginal inflammation. Naturally, the estrogen is absorbed through your stomach. Oral Estardiol might not be right for you if you’re only experiencing dryness or athrophy. In this case, you might need to use Vaginal Estradiol.
Estradiol (Minivell, Vivelle Dot, Divigel and Estrogel)
Minivelle, Vivelle Dot and Climara are estrogen in a patch form. Minivelle and Vivelled Dot are the newer Estradiol patches, and usually changed twice a week. Climara is and older version of the Estradiol pacth and is usually changed once a week.
Divigel and Estrogel are topical Estradiol gel. The hormone is absorbed through the skin to counteract moderate to severe menopause symptoms. You may find a patch easier to use versus taking a daily pill.
Gabapentin is a non-hormone medication for symptoms of menopause. It is commonly used for patients who have epilepsy. But multiple studies have shown that this medicine is effective for treating hot flashes. On average, this tablet is taken multiple times daily.
Another non-hormone medication, Clonidine is a tablet often used for high blood pressure. Similar to gabapentin, research shows that clonidine helps manage hot flashes. On average, this tablet is taken 2 to 3 times daily.
Menopause Medicine: What You Need to Know When Choosing to Take or Not
When you reach the point in your life when you are no longer able to menstruate, you may be wondering what happens next. The good news is that there are many options available to you when it comes to menopause medicine.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing which treatment is suitable for you:
- It’s important to choose a treatment that fits your lifestyle and personality. For example, many women find relief from hormonal therapy, while others prefer natural remedies such as supplements or herbs. It’s also important to consider whether you want treatment for only the short or long term.
- Consult your doctor before starting any new therapy, especially if you have any health conditions. For example, if you’ve had breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or another cancer, talk with your doctor about whether hormone therapy would be safe for you.
- Menopause can be difficult, but there are many ways to cope with the changes it brings. Get support from family and friends, and remember that these times will pass.
How Often Should You Take Menopause Medicine?
When it comes to menopause medicine, no one answer is suitable for everyone. The best way to determine how often you should take the medication depends on several factors, including age, health history, and physical activity.
If you are over the age of 50, you may benefit from taking menopause medicine every day. If you are younger than 50 or are not as active as you would like, you may only need to take the medication once or twice a week. Remember that even if you only take the medication once or twice a week, it is still important to check with your doctor about how often to restart the dosage.
Furthermore, there are many menopause medications on the market today, so it is important to choose one that will work best for you. Some of the most common medications used during menopause include HRT (hormone replacement therapy), progesterone creams, and estrogen (including birth control pills and vaginal rings). Talk to your doctor about which type of menopause medication may be best for you.
Side Effects and Risks of Taking Menopause Medicine
Some potential side effects and risks are associated with menopause medicine. The most common ones are:
- breast tenderness
- weight gain
- changes in mood or sleep pattern
- difficulty urinating
What are the Benefits of Menopause Medicine?
The benefits of menopause medicine can be summarized as follows:
- relief from symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia
- decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis
- improved mental health, including reduced anxiety and improved sleep quality
- increased energy levels and better functioning overall
- increased fertility rates in women who use contraception
Fill Your Menopause Medicine Prescription
Work with your doctor to find the best medication and brand for you. You’ll likely need to work with your doctor on an ongoing basis to determine the best dosage for you.
And because NO One Size Does Not Fit All, we can also, work with your doctor to compound your hormones to fulfill your particular needs.
We can help you fill your prescription afterward. Call our compounding Pharmacist Sonia E. Martinez if you have additional questions about compounded Bio-Identical Hormones or Hormone Replacement Therapy.