Deciding To Stop Your HRT

by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP

Expect to be successful even if you failed the first time

There are many women who seek our help who have suddenly stopped Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) “overnight.” But then they couldn’t deal with the explosion of symptoms, so they returned to HRT. They feel frustrated at the need to return to HRT, but at least they’re functional.

What I tell these women is to learn from that setback and to make another attempt at stopping HRT. If they put their support in place first, and then wean off HRT slowly, there is a greater chance that they can successfully stop HRT.

Expect Success If You’re Willing to Work at It

More than 80 percent of the women who participate either at the clinic or online have challenges that are obstacles to helping them to restore their health after they stop HRT. The most common issues are digestive problems (for example, floral imbalance or leaky gut syndrome) and endocrine problems (for example, insulin resistance, adrenal exhaustion, or thyroid disorders). Not surprisingly, these issues all interfere with hormonal balance.

Problems such as these have taken years for the body to develop and they can’t be resolved in a few days. Their effect can be dispiriting to women who are seeking alternatives to HRT. Women often improve and make exciting progress in the first few weeks after weaning off HRT; however, some women find themselves with too many symptoms that remain. The tendency is to blame the lack of hormone and estrogen replacement and say, “This isn’t working.” But in reality, the natural alternative to HRT is working—it’s gradually healing the years that it took for the damaging health habits to create the conditions in the first place. Adrenal function may be one of the obstacles to fast recovery when HRT is stopped.

For many women, who like to be able to “do it all,” stress appears to be unresolvable. Stress can trigger hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, and other menopause symptoms. The sources of stress in a woman’s life can seem beyond her control. However, we’ve seen repeatedly that women can make their lives less stressful. It is called multi-talking. If you begin to take better care of yourself, you’ll get your strength and energy back. Then you can begin to make more changes that seem easier. And it will be.

Don’t be surprised if you need help, especially when first starting.

Most women know that there are more natural alternatives to HRT, and many of those same women will spend months self-prescribing soy, dong quai, black cohosh, bioidentical progesterone and so on. Each of these herbal or medicinal alternatives can have a positive effect, and they will provide relief for you, but only if you have a few, mild symptoms. Again, those women tend to be fewer in numbers. Most women who self-prescribe get discouraged with the process, and then they don’t know where to turn for additional support.

To find out where you may be, consider taking our Hormonal Health Assessment.

Expect to feel great!

One of the great things about understanding more about our bodies is that we can now view the whole of menopause as a great awakening. Remember this is adolescence in reverse. It is the time in your life when you ask the question who am I and what do I want to do for the next half of my life. And how do I expect to feel.

This is the way that nature intends for you to begin to take better care of yourself now. Over and over, we’ve seen a woman find her voice, learn more about her miraculous body, and begin making choices that work for her. We believe it is up to you to lay the foundation for decades of health, vitality on all levels and happiness ahead.

We’re always happy to welcome new patients at our medical clinic in Yarmouth, Maine, for those who can make the trip.