Hormone therapy is an excellent option when symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats are severe.
“The good news is there are so many different ways we can treat symptoms with hormones,” says Dr. Loeb-Zeitlin. These include estrogen pills, creams, and transdermal patches, which are taken with progesterone. “Hormones may also help with brain fog,” she adds, though they aren’t FDA-approved for that symptom.
“Vaginal creams and pills containing estrogen are FDA-approved for the treatment of vaginal atrophy and urinary symptoms like urinary urgency and frequency,” says Dr. Loeb-Zeitlin. Over-the-counter vaginal moisturizers, which don’t contain hormones, can help reduce dryness and related symptoms.
Some people have concerns about using hormones because previous studies showed higher rates of heart disease, breast cancer, blood clots, and stroke with their use, says Dr. Loeb-Zeitlin. But the treatment is very safe when it’s used by people who start by age 60 or within 10 years of the onset of menopause, she says.
When menstrual irregularities and bleeding are the primary problems, low-dose birth control pills can often help to balance out the cycle until a person reaches menopause.