Most women can discontinue hormone therapy after their menopausal symptoms have subsided, which usually occurs two to five years after they began taking it (though in some cases it may take longer). It is generally recommended to reduce the dose of HRT gradually, rather than stopping it abruptly. When should you start taking HRT? Is it too late to begin? If you've been using it for years, when should you consider quitting HRT? These are common questions asked by women who have gone through menopause some time ago. Some women take hormone therapy for a few years to help alleviate the worst symptoms of menopause.
Some women find that when they cease taking hormone replacement therapy after a few years, they no longer experience any symptoms. Other women may experience a return of symptoms when they stop taking hormone replacement therapy. There is no set amount of time during which you should take HRT; it's an individual decision between you and your doctor or nurse. This fact sheet includes information to help you decide if now is the right time to start or stop taking hormone replacement therapy, even if menopause occurred several years ago.
If you're healthy, most experts agree that it's safe to use hormone therapy at the lowest dose that helps for the shortest amount of time needed. If you are 59 years old or older, or have been taking hormones for 5 years, you should talk to your doctor about quitting smoking. This is often because they feel better and have more energy when they take hormone therapy; they also want to protect their future health from long-term conditions associated with low estrogen levels, such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Women are often surprised when menopausal symptoms return after stopping hormone therapy, even women who have taken it for many years.
However, most women who are otherwise fit and well continue to benefit from taking hormone replacement therapy, even if it's been more than 10 years since menopause. Perhaps, years later, you are reconsidering this possibility and HRT is becoming an increasingly attractive option for you. There is very little evidence on the initiation of hormone therapy in older women because this research has not been conducted. It's perfectly acceptable to follow hormone therapy for life; you only need an annual checkup to check your blood pressure. If you want to start hormone replacement therapy again, see another doctor if necessary and explain the reasons why you want to take it again.
However, it's perfectly acceptable to follow hormone therapy for life; you only need an annual checkup to check your blood pressure. There are some tests that show a slight increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke during the first year after stopping hormone replacement therapy. If you've weighed the information in this fact sheet and decided that quitting HRT is the right decision for you, it's generally recommended that you lower your estrogen dose gradually, every few days, for a few weeks. If you're still healthy and feel the benefits of taking hormone therapy, there's no reason to stop taking hormone therapy. You may decide to start hormone replacement therapy now because your symptoms have worsened or because you hoped they would have disappeared by now, but that's not the case.