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by James Thomas, Thursday, April 7, 2016 | Categories: Womens Health

The menopause isn’t something that women usually look forward to. Though it marks the end of painful period cramps and late night runs to the supermarket for tampons, it’s also a huge lifestyle change that can usher in a whole new collection of uncomfortable symptoms.

The menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertility and is caused by a decline in oestrogen production. In the UK, the average age that a woman reaches the menopause is 51. Typical symptoms include vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive, difficulty sleeping, low mood, night sweats and – of course – hot flushes

In popular culture, the hot flush serves as shorthand for a woman going through "the change". It’s common to see older female characters in films or TV shows experiencing hot flushes – and more often than not, it’s played for laughs.

The reality is that as many as three out of every four women going through the menopause suffer from hot flushes, and some of these will experience up to 30 a day. The sensation varies from person to person, but is generally described as a sudden feeling of unbearable heat, spreading through your body and causing sweating, a flushed complexion and palpitations.

Clinical Trials for New Hot Flush Treatment

Many women seek to avoid the discomfort that surrounds declining oestrogen levels by taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). According to recent news, though, there may be a new hope on the horizon…

Several news sources have reported on the discovery that the medical compound AZD4901 could effectively combat hot flushes in menopausal women. AZD4901 was originally developed to treat schizophrenia, and it is not known yet how effective it could be as a treatment, as clinical trials are still ongoing. Should the trials be successful, however, we can expect this new option to be in high demand.

Hormone Replacement Therapy

The reason why so many people are excited about the discovery of a potential new hot flush medication is that, until now, the only significant treatment available for menopausal women has been hormone replacement therapy.

There are many different types of HRT, which are prescribed depending upon the particular needs of the patient. Women who have had a hysterectomy will be suited to oestrogen-only HRT, while women who are experiencing symptoms but still having periods will require something called cyclical HRT. When taken correctly, hormone replacement therapy can effectively combat the uncomfortable symptoms of the menopause by tackling vaginal dryness, reduced sex drive, low moods and the dreaded hot flushes.

The problem is that back in the 2000s, a number of studies were carried out which drew a link between hormone replacement therapy and serious conditions such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and heart disease. As a result, many women stopped using HRT, and to this day it is a treatment, which is surrounded by controversy. Some doctors will rule it out entirely, while others will tell you that it is fine to use for a short period. However, one recent study carried out by New York University found that there were zero health risks associated with taking HRT over a long period.

The study looked at a sample group of 80 women who had been taking HRT for an average of 14 years and found that there was no higher incidence of cancer, heart disease or diabetes in this group, than in the control group who had never taken HRT. And – even putting this particular example to one side – the common consensus in the medical community is slowly but surely moving back in favour of HRT again. Not all doctors will recommend hormone replacement therapy, but many will agree that it is generally safe for women to use for a few years.

HRT at The Online Clinic

For women going through the menopause who are suffering unpleasant symptoms, the rigmarole of seeking treatment can seem like another unnecessary burden. The good news is that you can order hormone replacement therapy safely over the internet from trusted online doctor services such as The Online Clinic.

If you don’t have time to visit your GP, or if you simply value the convenience of an online service, head to the Online Clinic. Here, you can undertake a private online consultation, where one of our doctors can recommend appropriate HRT options.

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