Stopping Hormone Replacement Therapy
If you're like most women, the troubling findings of the large Women's Health Initiative study in 2002 made you think twice about using hormone therapy (HT) over the long term. Those results, which linked HT to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer, caused many women to stop using these prescription drugs. I think stopping HT is a healthy and reasonable move for many women.
According to research, it doesn't matter whether you quit hormone therapy cold turkey or taper off gradually: Menopausal symptoms occur just as often in both cases. That said, I recommend that you first talk with your doctor about your desire to stop taking HT, as he may have more specific advice.
If you experience vaginal dryness, ask your doctor about using a local estrogen such as Estring, a vaginal ring. The OTC gel Replens and lubricant Astroglide can also ease dryness. For hot flashes, some research has shown that the herb black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) offers relief.
Because HT does lower the risk of fractures, protect your bones by getting regular exercise--in particular, weight-bearing activity, such as brisk walking, as well as strength-training. And be sure you're getting enough vitamin D daily--at least 1,000 IU of the D3 form taken with a meal containing fat. As for calcium, I recommend 500 to 700 mg a day from supplements to get 1,200 mg a day from food and supplements combined.
Source:Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of its Program in Integrative Medicine.
Video: How does hormone replacement therapy affect the body?
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