For women who seek help for their menopausal symptoms, HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is the most commonly prescribed treatment. HRT helps to relieve symptoms by replacing oestrogen levels that naturally fall in menopause. You can take HRT as tablets or through a patch or gel on your skin.
If HRT is suitable for you and you are interested in taking it, your GP should discuss the benefits and risks with you, both in the short term (the next 5 years) and in the future, before you decide to start it.
You should also be given information about:
non-hormonal treatments, for example a drug called clonidine
other types of treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a type of psychological therapy that helps people to manage the way they think and feel.
You can get many different treatments for menopausal symptoms without a prescription. Some women find that complementary therapies help. If you wish to try these, your GP should explain that their quality and ingredients may be unknown. Another type of treatment is called bioidentical or compounded hormones, but these are unregulated and it is not known whether they are safe or effective.
For women with, or at high risk of, breast cancer
NICE has produced advice about treating menopausal symptoms in women who have breast cancer or who are at high risk of breast cancer (for example because of a family history of breast cancer). See other NICE guidance for more information.
Your GP should give you information about all the available treatments that might help your menopausal symptoms. They should also refer you to a healthcare professional specialising in menopause.
St John's wort
Some women have found St John's wort can reduce their hot flushes and night sweats during menopause. However, the ingredients of products containing St John's wort may vary and their effects are uncertain. Also, these products can interfere with other drugs, including those used to treat breast cancer (for example, tamoxifen).