Stopping HRT aka Hormone Replacement Therapy

Last spring I visited my family practice physician. She is a woman of Goddess age and I asked her if she was taking anything for Menopause symptoms. When she told me that she was on HRT, I Mentioned that I was considering titrating off my bioidentical estrogen, since I’d been on it nearly three years.

Research suggests that a woman can take hormones for 3-5 years with no increase in side effects like cancer, stroke, or blood clots. Bioidentical hormones might be safer, but we don’t know that for sure. So my goal had been three years of hormones and then au naturel.

“I tried to go off this month,” my MD shared. “But I was dripping on my patients and it is just too hot with summer right around the corner. So I’m going to wait.” Feeling that to be prudent, I decided that I’d wait also. Summer is enough of a trial for the thermically challenged without tempting fate!

This month I went back for my annual checkup and broached the subject again. Had my MD (we’ll call her Dr. A) decreased or discontinued her HRT (hormone replacement therapy)? She had not.

I proposed that she and I try to decrease and ultimately discontinue our hormone therapy together. “It’ll be fun,” I told her. “It might be fun,” she mused with a small frown.

Furthermore, we agreed to keep track on a daily basis of any symptoms or signs of withdrawal from estrogen addiction and to post our progress right here on Menopause Goddess Blog.

So, starting one week from today, two real Menopausal women, an MD and an RN, will attempt the terrifying, amazing feat of weaning ourselves from pill and patch. Evel Knievel, eat your heart out.

Like the Cowardly Lion as he prepares to storm the witch’s castle to rescue Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I have just one favor to ask our sister goddesses before we run this gauntlet. Talk us out of it! (Just kidding. Sort of. No really.)

Lastly, if you’ve already performed this heroic act of derring-do? Tell us how it went for you. We’ll take all the preparation, encouragement, and ideas we can get! And chocolate. Please send chocolate.

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54 Responses to Stopping HRT aka Hormone Replacement Therapy

  1. reluctantexan May 14, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Three weeks in on my Estradiol cessation. My blood pressure has dropped 20 points, and my blood sugar numbers have stabilized.
    No weight loss.
    I rarely sweat (despite living in Las Vegas), but I just get hot while sleeping. Can’t really call it night sweats, just discomfort. Actually, my feet are sweating more and getting clammy.

  2. LynetteSh May 14, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Have you checked out the Night Bliss fan? – it’s really cool – and cooling. Invented by a man for his “hot” menopausal wife. That might help. They have a 30 day free trial, so it is worth looking into.

  3. Andrea May 30, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    I went into instant surgical menopause last year after bio/lavh. I decided to go without hrt and am very happy with my choice. The hot flashes at night were a little rough until I learned to put my pillows in the freezer during the day and go to bed with an ice pack. Lots of water and lots of walking helped greatly too. I no longer have any symptoms.

    Sometimes I wonder if hrt just prolongs the agony. I’ m not a scientist, but it seems that menopause symptoms is caused by CHANGES in estrogen levels, not by low estrogen. If low estrogen caused hot flashes then men and children would have them all the time. It’s the up/down bouncing around of estrogen levels that triggers all sorts of things. Wouldn’t hrt just add fuel to the fire and drag things out?

    The other reason I didn’t go with hrt is that some of the products such as Premarin are made from the urine of pregnant mares (PREgnant MARe urINe). These mares are subjected to horrible cruelty. They are impregnated, confined unright in stalls without being given room to lie down or move. Their movement is limited because they are catheterized and have bags to collect the urine strapped to them. Then they aren’t given enough water so the urine is more concentrated. There they stand for 6 months. When they foal the colt is either butchered or will be added to the “pee line”. This goes on year after year until the mares are wrecked and sent to slaughter.

    I’m no fan of horses, but I can’t see doing this in order to make myself more comfortable. Menopause isn’t a life-threatening condition.

  4. LynetteSh June 1, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    So so true, Andrea. There is natural progesterone that is made from wild yams, no cruelty involved and very effective. As long as symptoms are manageable, I totally agree with you. However, I have met women who have had such severe insomnia that they were completely worn out and women who were so depressed their life was adversely affected, as well as other severe symptoms. In their cases, bioidentical hormones can be a lifesaver. And interestingly, after a few years of HRT, many women are able to to titrate off with no appreciable problem (I’m one of them.) And yes, some women have just as severe symptoms when trying to get off HRT. So the only thing we can say is that every woman is different and will go through her transition differently. I’m so glad yours was manageable. (I actually met a woman who had NO, I repeat NO symptoms at all – just sailed through her Menopause with nary a hot flash. Alas, so far it is only one.) Thanks for your perspective. AND I would add that mild discomfort is not a good reason to go on HRT. Often a fan or ice packs or cooling clothing is enough to get one through.