Tips on hormone use, coping with menopause

October 26, 2009

(AP) -- What to do if menopause makes you miserable?

Start with a visit to your doctor. If you don't have one you really trust, fix that problem before you try to tackle the rest, women's health experts recommend.

A good doctor will do an exam to make sure menopause is what is causing your symptoms, take stock of which ones are most bothering you, and help you weigh the benefits and risks of treatment options with your medical history in mind. For example, bothered most by sleep problems may find a non-hormone solution. Ditto for vaginal dryness.

- taking estrogen, progestin or both - works. It tames hot flashes, improves sleep, keeps bones strong and prevents vaginal dryness. It also can raise the risk of cancer and heart problems. However, studies show that the risk is small to an individual woman who starts on the pills at normal menopause age and uses them for fewer than five years.

Experts suggest:

-If you use hormones, use the lowest dose for the shortest time possible, and try to quit or cut down every few months.

-Ask about ways to use hormones other than taking pills, such as estrogen patches that can be cut to adjust the dose, or estrogen-secreting vaginal rings. Some preliminary research suggests these modes may be safer than taking pills.

-Do not take hormones to try to prevent heart disease or dementia. If you take them to keep your bones strong, talk with your doctor about possible alternatives.

-If you were taking birth control pills for symptoms during the transition into , check with your doctor about whether to continue. Many oral contraceptives contain far more estrogen and progestin than traditional does.

-For hot flashes, try to figure what triggers one, such as hot drinks, spicy foods, alcoholic drinks, stress, hot weather, or a warm room. Dress in layers, and keep your office and home cool.

-Eat a to keep bones strong, maintain a healthy weight, get regular exercise and don't smoke.

-To sleep better, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, eat regular meals at regular times, and not late at night. Limit caffeine. Avoid nightcaps: Alcohol may make you feel drowsy, but it interferes with sleep patterns.

-Creams can help with vaginal dryness.

---

Sources: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.