About 1 in 5 women going through menopause have severe symptoms. While the normal symptoms—hot flashes, night sweats and sleep problems—can be unpleasant, those women who experience marked decreases in quality of life may have new reason to give hormones a second look, according to one of the latest report from Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs .
While the risks of hormone use are known—increases in breast cancer, heart attack and stroke—women who are under the age of 60 with severe symptoms and who are at low-risk for breast cancer and heart problems may not increase their risk of heart disease when they take hormones. However, they do face an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, blood clots and stroke. Hormones need to be taken with care even for those with severe symptoms.
For women with less severe symptoms, lifestyle and habit changes can also provide some relief: quitting smoking, exercising regularly, sleeping in a cool room, limiting intake of alcohol and caffeine and reducing stress.
Of course, the use of any hormones should be taken with care and under the guidance of your doctor. Hormones should also only be taken for the shortest time possible and at the lowest dose. If you have diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, hormones can add to the risk of heart disease.
A total of 14 hormones have been chosen as Best Buys, including generic estradoil, Combipatch and Estraderm. Click herefor the complete list.
For more information on prescription drugs, alternatives to high-priced drugs and Best Buy selections for the most common, chronic medical conditions, visit www.ConsumerReportsHealth.org/BestBuyDrugs.
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