Should I Stop My Hormone Therapy?
By Beverly Vaughn, MD
Medical Coordinator, Menopause and You Program
In years past, when women were put on hormone therapy, there was no hard
stop date; it was often recommend that they continue hormones forever.
That changed in 2002 with the WHI (Women’s Health Initiative
Study). Because the WHI study was stopped 5 years after it was begun,
the duration of therapy for every woman was then abbreviated to 5 years.
This was arbitrary, based solely on the length of time after which the
main portion of the study was stopped.
Many women stopped their hormones on their own, or were recommended to
do so by their care providers. Some women found that their hot flashes
returned and were unsure how to manage them. Certainly there were other
options but, they were unacceptable to some women or didn’t work well
Over the intervening years since WHI, organizations such as the North
American Menopause Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians
and Gynecologists have recognized that one size doesn’t fit all and that
quality of life is very important to consider. In a recent
publication from The American Congress of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists, it was proposed that women can safely continue their
therapy beyond five years, for as long as they need it barring any
changes in their medical status. This applies to newly menopausal
patients as well as healthy women ages 65 and above.
This stance comes from careful consideration of past medical studies in
addition to newer published work. It is a boon for women because their
needs can be determined by their individual health profile. Like any
medical therapy hormone therapy should be evaluated on a regular basis.
If you have questions about hormone therapy, don’t hesitate to discuss
them with your health care provider.
This article is part of the Menopause and You library,
a Web-based program sponsored by Women’s Health Source.
It is intended as an information resource providing guidelines for
women. As always, check with your own healthcare practitioner with your
specific concerns and questions.
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