The decision to stop HRT can be a tricky one: if you go “cold turkey” you may experience symptoms that are worse than the ones you sought help for in the first place. But there are some good reasons to stop, so it’s worth taking a look at. Stopping HRT may not work the first time, but I can help you through the transition.
Stopping HRT: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again
Many women seek my help because they tried quitting Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) cold turkey, but couldn’t deal with the explosion of symptoms, so they returned to HRT. They feel frustrated at the need to return to HRT, but glad to be able to function once again.
What I tell these women is they should learn from that setback and make another attempt at stopping HRT. But putting support in place first, then weaning off HRT slowly, brings a greater chance that they can successfully stop HRT.
You Can Succeed If You’re Willing to Put in the Work
More than 80 percent of the women I help at the clinic or online have obstacles to restoring their health after they stop HRT. The most common issues are digestive problems (floral imbalance or leaky gut syndrome) and endocrine problems (insulin resistance, adrenal exhaustion, or thyroid disorders). Not surprisingly, all of these issues interfere with hormonal balance.
These problems have developed over years in the body, and can’t be resolved in a few days, but 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 damaging health habits to create the conditions in the first place.
Adrenal function, which is impacted by stress, may be one of the obstacles to fast recovery when stopping HRT. Stress can trigger hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, and other menopause symptoms. The sources of stress in a woman’s life especially those who like to “do it all,” can seem beyond her control; however, we’ve seen repeatedly that women can make their lives less stressful. 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 – because they are!
You Don’t Need to Do It Alone – Especially in the Beginning
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 will provide relief for you, but only if you have a few, mild symptoms. Typically, women looking for answers don’t fall into that category. Consequently, most women who self-prescribe get discouraged with the process, and then they don’t know where to turn for additional support.
Related article: The History of Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)
You Can Feel Great!
One of the great things about increased understanding of the female body is that we can now view the whole of menopause as a great awakening. Remember this is adolescence in reverse. It is a time in your life to ask big questions: Who am I? What do I want to do for the next half of my life? How do I want to feel?
This is the way that nature intends for you to begin to take better care of yourself now. Over and over, I’ve seen a woman find her voice, learn more about her miraculous body, and begin making choices that work for her. It is up to you to lay the foundation for decades of health, vitality on all levels, and happiness ahead.
I’m always happy to welcome new patients at my medical clinic in Yarmouth, Maine, for those willing and able to make the trip.