Which treatment you choose depends on your risk factors and your comfort level with untested remedies.
Estrogen (with progestin) in low doses can relieve hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia, but long-term use is discouraged. Hormones increase the risk of breast cancer, blood clots and heart disease.
Weight-bearing exercises can slow the onset of osteoporosis. Relaxation improves quality of life and indirectly relieves symptoms.
These drugs, alternatives to hormone therapy for women at risk for reproductive cancers, can relieve hot flashes and insomnia. Side effects may include weight gain.
Estrogen-like compounds in soy may reduce symptoms, but studies are equivocal and product quality has not been standardized.
BOTANICALS AND HERBS
Black cohosh is moderately effective in relieving many symptoms (but not hot flashes). Like other botanicals, such as red-clover leaf, dong quai and ginseng root, it needs more research. --By Coco Masters