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Menopause Health Center

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Quitting Hormone Replacement Therapy

By Camille Peri
WebMD Feature

If you’ve been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for a while to relieve menopause symptoms, you may be wondering, what now? Should you stop taking it? If so, when? And how do you go about it?

If you are healthy, most experts agree that HRT is safe to use at the lowest dose that helps for the shortest time needed. If you're 59 or older, or have been on hormones for 5 years, you should talk to your doctor about quitting.

Who Needs Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Some women sail through menopause with only mild symptoms. But many have strong symptoms. Your doctor may have suggested hormone replacement therapy for mild to severe menopause symptoms such as:

If you are healthy, hormone replacement therapy can offer good short-term relief of these symptoms.

Side Effects

The risks of hormone replacement therapy depend on your age when you started hormones and how long you've taken them.

  • Your chances of heart attack go up only if you are 60 or older when you start them or if you became menopausal more than 10 years ago.
  • Your chances of getting breast cancer go up when you've taken estrogen and progestin for 5 or 6 years.
  • Your chances of blood clots and stroke are still low if you are under age 59 and don’t smoke.
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