All I Know About Stopping HRT So Far
It has been 5 months since I cut my estradiol patch in half; the next step in getting off HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy.)
Thankfully, the process has been relatively easy. Oh sure, I’ve had hot flashes on occasion. Especially at night. Still, none of them has been of the severity or duration of my pre-HRT surges.
Every woman is different. I know I sound like a broken record here, but it’s true. No single remedy, help, or idea fits each woman during her menopause transition.
With that in mind, here are a few things I’ve learned that may be of help if you are considering stopping your HRT or even your herbal remedies.
1. Take it slow, sistah.
While there are few absolutes, here’s one. Do not go “cold turkey” off your HRT, herbal remedy, or other ‘natural’ solution. Why would you want to rush it? Give your body time to adjust.
Give yourself a chance to notice if side effects are going to show up, and if they might diminish over time. Look for other ways to remain cool, rested, and emotionally balanced. Remember that your body has a feedback system built in to monitor hormone levels – let’s not take it to condition Red, stress overload, shock to system just because we’ve decided to stop HRT.
Believe it or not, other parts of your body start manufacturing estrogen – oh sure, not in childbearing young woman amounts, but more than you might think. So the slight drop from decreasing your HRT stimulates the body to make a little more. Sometime later, after 6 months or so, you may decrease your hormone therapy again, giving your body another little signal to kick it up.
Likely, we’ll have enough to keep us from chronic insomnia, mood swings, and intractable hot flashes.
2. Exercise helps with all the menopause symptoms. Seriously! I did not want to believe this, but sure enough, if I get my walk in every day, I have few to no hot flashes, I sleep soundly through the night, and my mood is calm and upbeat. If I skip it for more than a day, my symptoms kick up a little more.
3. If you try other remedies to take the place of your HRT, remember to try only one at a time and give it at least 2 weeks to work before adding or trying something else. For more info on Natural remedies read Natural Symptom Relief for Menopause. Always tell your trusted health care partner about everything you are taking, to avoid adverse medication interactions.
And be sure to avail yourself of non-medical, non-herbal remedies like fans, wicking sleepwear, hypnosis (I swear it works – studies prove it and I’ve tried it myself with great success.)
4. Be gentle with yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and generosity during this change. This is yet another transition and it needn’t be a “should” but a gradual lessening as a choice. I’m getting better at this – I still tend to expect too much of myself or push too hard. Rest, chocolate, me-time are all important adjuncts to leaving HRT.
5. Finally, I cannot underestimate the power of girlfriends in getting us through every part of the menopause transition. If you have a group of like-minded, like-afflicted gal pals, make sure you spend lots of time with them. When women ask me what the single most important menopause remedy/help/fix is, I tell them it is Girlfriends with a capital G.
Girlfriends will get you through getting off HRT, too. Something wonderful happens when women get together and share their experience and experiences; a special synergy that is more healing than ANY herb or medication, oil or cream.