Living With

Medications That Help Common Menopause Symptoms

HealthCentral Editorial Team Mar 26th, 2012 (updated May 19th, 2014)
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Most women do not need treatment of menopausal symptoms. Some women find that their symptoms go away by themselves, and some women just don't find the symptoms very uncomfortable. But if you are bothered by symptoms, there are many ways to deal with them, including medications and lifestyle changes.

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Hot flashes
Hot flashes

Menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is the most effective treatment for hot flashes and night sweats. Ask your doctor if the benefits of MHT outweigh the risks for you. If MHT is not an option for you, ask your doctor about prescription medicines that are usually used for other conditions. These include antidepressants, epilepsy medicine, and blood pressure medicine.

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Vaginal dryness
Vaginal dryness

A water-based, over-the-counter vaginal lubricant like K-Y Jelly can help make sex more comfortable. Also, an over-the-counter vaginal moisturizer like Replens can help keep needed moisture in your vagina if used every few days. Last, low-dose oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are an option if you are in perimenopause (the years leading up to your final period). 

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Sleep issues
Sleep issues

One of the best ways to get a good night's sleep is to be physically active. You might want to avoid exercise close to bedtime, though, since it might make you more awake. If hot flashes are the cause of sleep problems, treating the hot flashes will usually improve sleep.

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Mood swings
Mood swings

If you are using MHT for hot flashes or another menopause symptom, your mood swings may get better. If your symptoms do not improve, talk to your doctor. He or she can look for signs of depression, which is a serious illness that needs treatment. You also could consider seeing a therapist to talk about your problems.

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Memory problems
Memory problems

Some women complain of memory problems or trouble focusing in midlife. But studies suggest that natural menopause has little effect on these functions. Women should not use MHT to protect against memory loss or brain diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer's disease.