Hormone Therapy for Menopause and Perimenopause
When (and How) to Get Off HT continued...
Taper off: Experts really aren’t sure whether this is
better than quitting cold turkey, but many doctors suggest a step-down plan:
taking a lower dose or skipping pills every other day. Dr. Richardson believes
that tapering off helps, but it should be done very slowly, and a woman should
stay at any given level for at least three months. If you get to the point
where symptoms start to crank up slightly, stay at that level for up to a year,
then try lowering some more. In any case, don’t try these approaches on your
own; work with your doctor.
Some women quit hormones more than once — “five times and counting,” says
Kalell — and some stay on for years, having decided that it’s reasonably safe
for them. It’s critical to report unusual symptoms, especially unexpected
bleeding or spotting, a possible warning sign of cancer, and to be scrupulous
about mammograms. It’s also important to keep revisiting the question of risk
and benefit, especially as you get older and your health issues change.
Originally published on March 27, 2008
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