A Guide to Treating the Symptoms of Menopause
Menopausal-related symptoms, which include hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, difficulty sleeping, sexual dysfunction, and depression/anxiety, among others, are experienced by roughly 80% of women and are therefore a common complaint in the primary care setting. Systemic high-dose hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was the mainstay of treatment until a large systematic review determined that the risk of HRT greatly outweighed the benefits to the patient. Since that time, women and their physicians have turned to a variety of therapies; behavioral, alternative, and off-label use of mainstream medications to treat the life-altering symptoms of menopause. Systemic HRT is still the most effective therapy on the market, although it is now prescribed in the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration. This article will review available mainstream, alternative and osteopathic treatments for the myriad of symptoms experienced by women during menopause and the menopausal transition.