experience hot flashes, night
sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal dryness and other
physical changes with menopause. For some women, the symptoms are mild and do
not require any treatment.
Symptoms can also
be moderate or severe and interfere with daily activities. Hot flashes improve
with time, but some women have bothersome hot flashes for many years. Menopause
symptoms often improve with lifestyle changes and nonprescription remedies, but
prescription therapies are also available.
Hormone therapy is the most effective treatment for hot flashes. During the menopause transition, women with hot flashes are more likely
to report reduced sleep. Hormone
therapy improves sleep in women with bothersome nighttime hot flashes, by
reducing nighttime awakenings, and improving duration, disruption, latency, and sleep cycles.
Hormone therapy involves taking estrogen in doses high enough to raise the level of estrogen in your blood, to treat hot flashes and other symptoms. Because estrogen stimulates the lining of the uterus, women with a uterus need to take an additional hormone, progestogen, to protect the uterus. Women without a uterus just take estrogen. If you are bothered only by vaginal dryness, you can use very low doses of estrogen placed directly into the vagina. These low doses generally do not raise blood estrogen levels and do not treat hot flashes. You do not need to take a progestogen when using only low doses of estrogen in the vagina.