Menopause and Sleep
HRT to reduce menopausal symptoms, it is recommended that HRT be prescribed at the lowest effective dose and used only for brief periods, not long-term. It is recommended you talk to your physician about your symptoms, the risks and benefits of HRT and alternative approaches for managing menopausal symptoms, including sleep.
There are alternative approaches for managing menopausal symptoms which may work for you. These include nutritional products and medications such as calcium supplements, vitamin D, and bisphosphonates for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis (thinning and weakening of the bones); estrogen creams and rings for vaginal dryness; and sleep-promoting drugs for insomnia. All forms of estrogen that enter the blood stream reduce hot flashes.
An alternative treatment for menopausal symptoms may come from soy products (tofu, soybeans, and soymilk). They contain phytoestrogen, a plant hormone similar to estrogen. Soy products may lessen hot flashes, but there are no consistent results for its ability to relieve them. Furthermore, they can have gastrointestinal side effects. Just because it is a natural product does not necessarily mean it is safer to use than other treatments.
Phytoestrogens are also available in over-the-counter nutritional supplements (ginseng, extract of red clover, black cohosh). These supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); their proper doses, safety, long-terms effects and risks are not yet known.
Deciding what, if any, product to use and, if so, for how long, are questions a woman should discuss with her doctor. The answer will depend on personal and family medical history.