Menopause management

Significant for many women, menopause refers to the final menstrual period. It’s a time of change in hormone levels that affect mood, weight, food cravings, sex drive and wellbeing. Perimenopause is the 4–8-year transition stage of irregular menstrual cycles prior, and the 12-months following the final period.  

On average, menopause occurs at 51-years and 75% of women experience symptoms including:

  • Hot flushes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of self confidence
  • Sleep disturbances. 

The start of symptoms is a good reminder to see your doctor for a review of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis. Choosing to reduce stress and alcohol intake; eating a healthy diet; balancing your blood sugar levels and exercising regularly may offer relief from symptoms and improve your overall health.

The goals of managing menopause are to relieve symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Options include menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), vaginal oestrogen and non-hormonal therapies. MHT, oestrogen or combined with progestogen, is effective for hot flushes and night sweats, may improve sleep problems and help manage osteoporosis. It is important to consult your doctor about the risks and benefits, but for most symptomatic women, the benefits outweigh the risks.

The availability of oestrogen patches has been intermittent, causing ongoing supply issues due to increased global demand and manufacturing problems. Switching brands, halving or combining patches could be options at the pharmacy, or scripts might need adjusting to tablets or gels. Check the Pharmac website for updates.

Non-hormonal therapies may provide relief from hot flushes and night sweats, including SSRIs and SNRIs, Gabapentin, Pregabalin and Clonidine. SSRIs and SNRIs increase the amount of serotonin available so may also improve mood, sleep and quality of life. The herbs, black cohosh and red clover may help hot flushes and can be found in Go Healthy Meno-Free capsules.



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