For some women, menopause can cause a variety of bothersome symptoms, including hot flashes and vaginal dryness. The most common treatment for hot flashes is hormone therapy, which supplements the body with either estrogen and progesterone or estrogen alone to level out the hormonal effects of menopause.
“While hormone therapy is the most effective treatment, it is associated with risks, including heart attack, stroke, blood clotting and certain cancers such as breast, endometrial and ovarian,” says Sara A. Meyer, MD, FACOG, obstetrician and gynecologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Some patients choose to avoid those risks and find relief with safer alternative nonhormonal therapies such as black cohosh, venlafaxine and gabapentin.”
Menopausal women also may experience vaginal dryness that could contribute to pain during intercourse. “This symptom can be controlled with the use of a lubricant such as olive oil or vaginal estrogen,” says Meyer.
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