Should I choose supplements or medication?
It’s up to you – the choice of dietary supplements or prescription medication is completely up to you, as is the decision to try treatment for your menopause symptoms in the first place. Not all women choose treatment to relieve their symptoms of menopause, but many find it very helpful, especially when their symptoms are particularly difficult to manage.
Medication is more effective than supplements – current medical opinion considers dietary supplements to be less effective at treating menopausal symptoms, especially those that occur due to hormonal imbalance. However, popular opinion is generally quite positive, and the results vary greatly between users.
Medical treatment options – the main treatments are currently medical. They include hormone replacement therapies (HRT), of which there are two types (combined or oestrogen-only). However, there are now more options than ever for treatment, and there is an increasing trend for using dietary supplements or natural alternatives to relieve menopause symptoms.
Medication is effective but not always preferred – HRT has been medically proven to be very effective at relieving symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats, and there are still many more studies into medical treatments than dietary alternatives. Many people prefer not to take HRT, however, because they dislike the idea of taking extra or synthetic hormones.
Side effects of medication – other than personal preference, the main drawback are the possible side effects of HRT. These include:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Increased risk of blood clots or breast cancer in certain people
HRT isn’t suitable for anyone who has experienced breast cancer, or anyone at high risk of getting it.
A doctor’s assessment will help – talk to your nurse or GP if you want more advice on the choice between medical treatment and dietary supplements for your symptoms. It’s worth discussing your options with a doctor rather than going straight for the supplement approach, as individual cases do vary.