Medications for Menopause
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, your NYU Langone doctor may prescribe medications. You may also be given medications to slow bone loss, which tends to worsen during menopause and can lead to osteoporosis, in which bones become thin, weak, and may fracture.
As the level of estrogen in your blood decreases, menopausal symptoms can occur. If you are experiencing hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, bone loss, or vaginal dryness, your doctor may prescribe synthetic estrogen to relieve your symptoms.
Research into the safety and effectiveness of hormone replacement for women in menopause has found that taking medications containing both synthetic estrogen and progesterone—which is called progestin—leads to a higher risk of breast cancer and coronary artery disease compared with estrogen-only medications.
At NYU Langone, our experts sometimes prescribe estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy in conjunction with transvaginal ultrasound testing—which is at first performed every three to six months and then varies, depending on the results of the initial tests. This helps doctors to monitor the lining of the uterus for an irregular thickening that can sometimes occur as a result of using this medication.
Your doctor considers your age, personal and family health history, and treatment goals to determine if newer medications that protect the uterus but do not contain progestin are right for you. He or she also determines the duration of treatment.
Estrogen can be taken by mouth or via a skin patch, cream, gel, or spray.
To alleviate vaginal dryness, your doctor may prescribe an estrogen cream, pill, or ring, each of which is placed inside the vagina. These medications typically don’t enter the bloodstream.
Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
Your doctor may prescribe selective estrogen receptor modulators if you are experiencing vaginal atrophy, a thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls that’s caused by a reduction in the body’s estrogen levels. The condition can result in painful sexual intercourse.
Taken by mouth, these medications, which do not contain estrogen, repair and rebuild vaginal tissue.