Why Was I Given Hormone Replacement Therapy When I Went Through Menopause And Then Later Told To Stop It?

Dr. Sharonne Hayes answers the question: 'Stopping Hormone Replacement Therapy?'

BySharonne Hayes, M.D., Director, Women's Heart Clinic; Associate Professor of Medicine; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

— -- Question: Why Was I Given Hormone Replacement Therapy When I Went Through Menopause And Then Several Years Later Told To Stop It?

Answer: It's a great question to ask when your doctor prescribes any medication. Why am I taking this medication? So that's the first question, why were you put on this in the first place? And then also to discuss with your doctor why you were taken off.

Hormone therapy, ten or twenty years ago, was started on virtually every women who went through menopause, more, not because of any specific reason, because it was felt to be good for all women. With more recent data, particularly the Women's Health Initiative, which showed that there are some risks, it made doctors reassess whether individual patients should continue on the hormone therapy. So, you should talk to your doctor about the individual reason that you were started on it and taken off.

This is important because there may be very good reasons that your doctor took it off. Maybe you'd reached the point where you no longer needed it for hot flashes and symptoms. Maybe you were already being treated for bone health, or your cardiovascular risk had increased to the point where you really shouldn't be on hormone therapy.

It's also important to talk to your doctor because around the time of the Women's Health Initiative, many women were taken off hormones who perhaps could benefit from them. And so it's probably time to reassess, now that we've had some more data showing that hormone therapy has some risks but it also has some benefits, and discuss whether there's any role for you to go back on it, particularly if you're having hot flashes now.

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