Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Menopause Health Center

Font Size

Quitting Hormone Replacement Therapy

Should You Quit? If So, When?

There is no set time a woman should be on HRT. "We ask a woman to go off hormones at 5 years," says Anne W. Chang, MD. "We talk about the reasons why she should go off. But it's a shared decision."

"Being on hormones longer doesn't raise your risk for blood clots, but age does," Chang says.

Isaac Schiff, MD, goes over the pros and cons of quitting of hormone therapy with his patients every year. He says he puts the cons, like breast cancer risk, in perspective.

"If you aren't on hormones, your risk of breast cancer is 3 out of 1,200 per year," Schiff says. "If you're on hormones, it's 4 out of 1,200." Some women are comfortable staying on hormones with that risk. "It's a very individual decision," he says.

Women who have had their uterus removed are often given estrogen only. They aren't more likely to get breast cancer, so many decide to stay on hormones longer.

You should stop hormones if you get certain medical conditions, like breast cancer or liver disease, while taking them.

Other Options to Relieve Most Common Symptoms of Menopause

When deciding whether to quit, think about why you started taking hormones. Maybe hot flashes drove you to it. Hot flashes can pass after a few years. If they don't, they usually get less intense over time. The following may be enough to bring relief:

There are three options for vaginal dryness, pain, itching, and burning:

  • Low-dose, prescription vaginal estrogen works best. You apply it as a cream, tablet, or ring into the vagina. Only a tiny bit is absorbed into the bloodstream, so the chance of health problems is much lower than with estrogen pills.
  • Water- or silicone-based vaginal lubricants are put in the vagina or on the penis just before sex to reduce discomfort. You can buy them over the counter.
  • Vaginal moisturizers, also available over the counter, keep tissues moist. You apply them three times a week, but not before sex.

For mood swings and depression:

  • Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can help mood.
  • Daily exercise, plenty of sleep, and stress control techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or relaxation exercises can also help.

Today on WebMD

woman walking outdoors
How to handle headaches, night sweats, and more.
mature woman holding fan in face
Symptoms and treatments.
woman hiding face behind hands
11 ways to keep skin bright and healthy.
Is it menopause or something else?
senior couple
mature woman shopping for produce
Alcohol Disrupting Your Sleep
mature couple on boat
mature woman tugging on her loose skin
senior woman wearing green hat
estrogen gene

WebMD Special Sections