What are the alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy?

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Many women need medical assistance during menopause, both to alleviate the symptoms, and to understand exactly what is happening to their bodies. One commonly prescribed treatment is hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is used to replace and increase the levels of certain hormones that your body is lacking as you approach menopause.

However, some people would rather not artificially increase their hormone levels or would prefer not to risk the side effects associated with this treatment. As such, this short guide describes some of the most common alternative options a specialist would recommend.

1. Changing your lifestyle

A healthier lifestyle may be all that you need to improve your symptoms. Common changes include exercising regularly and quitting smoking – these are often reported to help significantly. Equally, improving your diet can also prove positive; cutting down on alcohol and food which are high in sugar and saturated fats often provide the best results, but it may also help to reduce your coffee intake, as well as the frequency you eat spicy foods.

2. Antidepressants

Certain types of antidepressants will help to combat and alleviate night sweats and hot flushes, and will also help regulate any emotional symptoms you are experiencing too by balancing the dopamine or serotonin levels (depending upon the specific medication prescribed) in your brain. However, some people will experience negative side effects, and they may not be suitable for patients who do not experience any emotional fluctuations.

3. Clonidine

This is a non-hormonal medicine which has been reported to help alleviate night sweats and hot flushes in women. However, patients usually experience a significantly lower benefit than they would with HRT.

4. Tibolone

This medication is relatively similar to HRT and contains both oestrogen and progestogen, but is somewhat weaker. Therefore, it may not be appropriate for women with severe symptoms. Note: tibolone is only suitable for women who had their last period over a year ago.

Consultant gynaecologist Tania Adib is a specialist in gynaecology problems, vulva disorders and gynaecological cancer screening and treatment. For more information about her clinic locations, or to view her contact information, please visit the website.

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