I was pleased to recently give a talk on non-hormonal treatments for menopause to breast cancer survivors at the first annual Pink Ribbon Brunch. This talk was at Inova Alexandria on October 6 and was sponsored by Inova’s Life with Cancer program. Many breast cancer survivors are in the post-menopausal age group, or the treatments to fight breast cancer push them into menopause at an earlier age. Since the majority of these cancers are estrogen or progesterone positive, most women who have had breast cancer need to avoid hormone replacement therapy as a treatment for menopause.
The good news is that there are several ways to deal with the symptoms of menopause that are non-hormonal.
- Waking up at night with extreme perspiration, aka night sweats, can be improved by wearing wicking pajamas and putting a cooling pad on the bed made with NASA’s Outlast technology. You can find a review of cooling pads on http://www.thesleepjudge.com.
- Overheating throughout the day—hot flashes–can be improved with acupuncture and an herbal remedy called Relizen. Relizen is not a prescription. The recommended dose is 2 tablets daily. it is safe to try it on your own. You can purchase is on http://www.relizen.com.
- Vaginal dryness and thinning, which can cause pain during intercourse, itching, and urinary problems, can be improved with a vaginal supplement called Revaree. Revaree is not a prescription. You buy it yourself on http://www.revaree.com. It is inserted every 3 days. If the Relizen and Revaree do not help your symptoms, then please see a doctor.
- Very low dose estrogen vaginal cream can also be used since it stays locally and is not strong enough to effect breast tissues. Estrogen and DHEA vaginal cream and suppositories can also be used…These preparations are prescription medications and so you need to see a doctor to get them.