Anyone who has ever found themselves in the midst of a menopausal hot flash knows the urgent desperation of finding the right menopause treatment. “Forty to fifty percent of the female lifespan is menopausal,” says Dr. Lizellen La Follette, a board-certified ob-gyn and medical adviser for Stripes. “Unfortunately, menopause advice has often been dismissive, belittling, and shaming, leaving women with information based in fear rather than fact.”
Much of the confusion and controversy surrounding menopause treatments centers on hormone therapy (sometimes referred to as hormone replacement therapy, or HRT). This was once the predominant treatment for menopause symptoms, but a 2002 study linking the therapy to increased risks—including breast cancer and stroke—caused a panic. Since then, newer research has proved again and again that hormone therapy is a safe menopause treatment for most women and its benefits outweigh small risks.
“The leading information about hormones and breast cancer risk has been wrong and out there for over 20 years,” says Dr. La Follette. “Hormones, especially estrogen, have demonstrated a protective effect against cardiovascular disease, which poses a seven-times-greater risk to women than breast cancer.”
We are thrilled to have been recently featured in Glamour magazine, one of the world’s most popular fashion and lifestyle publications.
Having our practice recognized and highlighted in such a prestigious platform is an honor. We are grateful for the opportunity to share some insights on a few Menopause Treatments that may be perfect for you!
Here’s everything you need to know about the leading treatments for menopause, including hormone therapy and nonhormonal options.
What are hormonal treatments for menopause?
According to the official 2022 recommendation of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), hormone therapy is one of the most effective therapeutic options for the treatment of menopause symptoms. Not only is it the single most effective treatment for hot flashes; it has also been shown to prevent bone loss.
There are two types of hormone therapy: estrogen therapy (typically used only for women who’ve had a hysterectomy and no longer have a uterus) and combined estrogen plus progesterone therapy, which reduces menopause symptoms while also protecting against the risk of uterine cancer.
There are two ways to use hormone therapy, according to NAMS:
- Systemic hormone therapy: Typically taken as a patch, pill, or gel, hormones are delivered into the blood stream and circulate throughout the body.
- Local hormone therapy: Typically used for vaginal symptoms only, it is delivered via a vaginal cream, ring, or suppository.