Women may start to experience symptoms as they get closer to their late 40s or early 50s, indicating that their bodies are entering menopause. A woman’s reproductive years come to an end naturally throughout this phase, which is accompanied by several emotional and physical changes.

Navigating Menopause: A Guide to Understanding and Managing Treatments

Although menopause is a natural process of aging, some women find it difficult to cope with the symptoms. We’ll go into the specifics of menopause, typical symptoms, and available treatments to assist ease discomfort during this time of transition in this comprehensive guide. [1]

Understanding Menopause

According to Kevin Huffman, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, menopause is the natural biological process that signals the end of menstrual cycles in women when periods stop due to a permanent decrease in estrogen levels, usually around age 51. A woman is considered to be in menopause after 12 consecutive months without a period. The years leading up to menopause are known as perimenopause, when women can experience a wide array of menopause-like symptoms since estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate during this phase and end with menopause.

The term “perimenopause” refers to this transitory stage in which a woman’s ovaries progressively stop producing estrogen, causing changes in her hormone levels. Menopause usually strikes women around the age of 51, however others may go through it earlier or later. Menopause’s onset and duration can be affected by some factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and specific medical disorders. [2]

Common symptoms experienced during menopause

Menopause can cause a wide range of mental and physical symptoms, and every woman’s experience is different. Among the most typical symptoms are: [3]

  • 1. Hot flashes and night sweats: Among the most well-known signs of menopause are these unexpected spikes in body temperature, which are frequently accompanied by perspiration and an accelerated heartbeat.
  • 2. Irregular periods: A woman’s menstrual cycle may become irregular in the years preceding menopause, with periods happening more or less frequently than usual.
  • 3. Vaginal dryness: When estrogen levels drop, vaginal dryness may result, causing pain or discomfort when having sex.
  • 4. Sleep disturbances: Insomnia and trouble falling asleep can be exacerbated by hot flashes, night sweats, and hormonal changes.
  • 5. Mood swings: Hormone fluctuations can cause a woman to feel irritable, anxious, or depressed.
  • 6. Cognitive challenges: A few women may encounter memory loss, focus issues, or what’s known as “brain fog” at this phase.

Even though these symptoms can be difficult, it’s crucial to keep in mind that they are transient and might go away when a woman has completely gone through menopause.

Traditional Treatments for Menopause Symptoms

1. Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

One of the best therapies for menopausal symptoms is hormone replacement therapy or HRT. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses synthetic hormones to replace the body’s diminishing levels of estrogen and progesterone, usually in combination. [4]

Menopausal symptoms such as vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and nocturnal sweats can all be successfully treated with HRT. It might also lessen the chance of osteoporosis and offer some defense against heart disease.

It’s important to remember that hormone replacement therapy carries some risks. An increased risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer has been linked to long-term use. In light of your unique medical history and risk factors, you and your healthcare practitioner must have an open conversation regarding the possible advantages and disadvantages of hormone replacement therapy in your case.

2. Non-hormonal Medications

Certain menopausal symptoms can be managed with non-hormonal pharmaceutical choices for women who cannot or will not take hormone replacement therapy.

  • 1. Antidepressants: Some antidepressants can help lessen hot flashes and night sweats. Examples of these are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • 2. Gabapentin: Created as an anti-seizure drug, gabapentin has demonstrated promise in reducing menopausal women’s hot flashes.
  • 3. Clonidine: By controlling the body’s temperature regulation center, this blood pressure drug can help lessen the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.

3. Lifestyle Changes and Alternative Therapies

Menopausal symptoms can be managed with the use of conventional medical treatments as well as lifestyle modifications and alternative therapy exploration.

  • 1. Exercise: Getting regular exercise helps lower the risk of diseases like osteoporosis and heart disease, enhance sleep quality, and soothe hot flashes.
  • 2. Stress management: Activities that assist reduce stress and anxiety, which can worsen menopausal symptoms, include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing techniques.
  • 3. Dietary adjustments: Changing your diet to incorporate more plant-based foods—including soy products—may help lessen menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. More study is necessary because the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these dietary modifications is conflicting.


It can be difficult to navigate menopause, but with the correct knowledge and assistance, women can control their symptoms and preserve their general health. To learn more about the several treatment options available and select the one that best suits your unique requirements and preferences, you must have candid conversations with your healthcare providers.

Remember that menopause is a normal transition and that even if the symptoms could be unpleasant, they only last a short while. Women can easily and confidently traverse this phase by adopting lifestyle modifications, seeking alternative remedies, and obtaining proper medical attention as needed.

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4 Sources

We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy.

[1] Peacock, K., Carlson, K., & Ketvertis, K. M. (2023). Menopause. StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507826/#:~:text=Vasomotor%20symptoms%20are%20the%20most,sweats%2C%20palpitations%2C%20and%20migraines.
[2] Delamater L, Santoro N. Management of the Perimenopause. Clin Obstet Gynecol. 2018 Sep;61(3):419-432. doi: 10.1097/GRF.0000000000000389. PMID: 29952797; PMCID: PMC6082400.
[3] Santoro N, Epperson CN, Mathews SB. Menopausal Symptoms and Their Management. Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2015 Sep;44(3):497-515. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2015.05.001. PMID: 26316239; PMCID: PMC4890704.
[4] Harper-Harrison, G., & Shanahan, M. M. (2023). Hormone Replacement Therapy. StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493191
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Dr. Sarah Brewer, MSc, MA, RN

Dr. Sarah Brewer is qualified from Cambridge University with degrees in Natural Sciences, Medicine, and Surgery. She is an award-winnin