Weaning yourself off of hormones?????

sandydairyJanuary 13, 2002

Was wondering if anyone has weaned them selves off of hormones and how they did it. I have been on hormones for years and through all the reading I have done I am quiting...Started to use progesterone cream. Do you go through terrible with-drawal systoms???? I had a hysterectomy 3 years ago.

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catherinet

Hi Sandy,
I might not be the best person to ask! I have Fibromyalgia and hormones (or lack of) seem to be very much involved with some of my problems. I have tried to come off of hormones intermittantly for about a year. What I have noticed on these forums is that most people do okay trying to come off of them, while a couple of us have an absolutely horrible time. While some people just experience some hot flashes, others of us experience panic, anxiety, severe fatigue, cognitive problems, G/I problems, and others. Everyone seems to be so different in their reactions to coming off hormones. Are you on a dose that could be reduced over several months, rather than just stopping them cold turkey? Just stopping all of them at once would be like having a hysterectomy without any replacement, so I wouldn't suggest that. If you would like to come off of them, I would suggest a slow withdrawal.......and then taking several months, at least, at your lower level, before going even lower. You should definitely talk to your doctor about this.
Unfortunately, hormone adjustments can be very rough, and take awhile to stabilize. I wish you luck!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 2:09PM
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Okla_gal

why do you want off? I had a hysterectomy at 24 and I am in my mid 40's now and I would not even think of going off. a friend of mine went off and she is my age and her gyno finally talked her back into them cause they protect your bones and heart. also why would you want to go thru all the crazy hormoneless symtoms? Just be careful and take care of youself.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 5:15PM
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framboise

While it's always good to take the lowest possible doses of HRT (and you should revisit your dose every year or two with an eye towards reduction to this goal), many women who do not have ovaries find that they are not able to successfully dispense with hormones altogether. Women who do have ovaries are more successful at this, as even post-menopausal ovaries produce a minimal quantity of hormones to help with basic physiological processes. The only ones I have heard of who have successfully dropped HRT without ovaries are those who are able to derive an adequate level of hormone production from body fat and/or xenoestrogens (from food and environmental sources), and few of those are successful for very long.

Still, it may certainly be worth trying if you are convinced it is the best course for your own body, your health goals and personal risk factors. You might want to look into other available means to protect hormone-dependent systems (calcium and other nutrient supplementation, weight-bearing exercise, low-fat diet, etc.) and closely monitor things like bone density and serum lipids, dental and ocular health, cognition and mood. If you then find that you aren't holding an acceptable level of health, you can always reverse your decision. You may not regain exactly the state you were in when you quit, but some effects of low hormones are quite reversible.

I do wish you the best of luck in determining the very best menopausal strategy for your own needs.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2002 at 6:06PM
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jifrah

The bone connection is true but the heart protection has definitely been disproved by recent studies.

I have no ovaries, am not on any type of hormones, and have only infrequent mild hot flashes. While my bones are borderline (noted on a recent scan) the endocrinologist has suggested up the calcium to 1500/day and up the exercise. So I'm working out more. I'm also vegetarian and eat a soy product every day - sometimes maybe only a Luna bar (good tasting nutrition bar) but that seems to help control symptons.

This of course has nothing to do with weaning off the hormones but nobody should be on them for heart protection anymore.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 10:44AM
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Leigh_K

Yes. The supposed heart benefits have been totally discredited. The reality is that estrogen may incrase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary emboli because of the effect it has on blood clotting.

The supposed bone benefits are also getting a second look, mostly because they disappear within 2 years of stopping the drugs, and lifelong use is no longer viewed as safe or desireable. Most doctors recommend no more than 5 years total use. Since the WHI suggests that the increased risk for cardiovascular events occurs for at least the first three years, it seems that the only time benefit might outweigh risk is in the 4th and 5th year of use, supposing you survive the first 3 years. After 5 years the risks of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer outweigh any supposed benefits.

Any supposed benefits on cognition remain to be shown.The few placebo sontrolled random studies that have been done show that estrogen makes things worse not better. The other supposed benefits are also in the realm of speculation.

The most pernicious part of Framboise's post is the thinly veiled suggestion that not taking hormones continuously from menopause to death will do irreversible harm. There is absolutely no evidence for this. The reality is that even the majority of women who have hysterecomies with removal of their ovaries do not continue to take hormones for life and fewer than 20% of women who undergo matural menopause ever even start taking hormones with no adverse impact on their health.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 12:26PM
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sandydairy

I am the orginial poster here..After reading Dr. Lee's book, it all makes so much sense. I know I have not been feeling normal on these hormones. I have been on Estratest HS for about 7 months now and prior to that, you name it and I have tried to take it. In fact I beleive now that, that was what caused my uterine cancer, over dominance of estrogen. And had I not changed Dr's, I would not even be around today. I am going to try to just use the progesterone cream and see how I feel. I have gained wt. and have so much bloating, feet and hands swelling, BP elevated. I don't think it can be any worse with out all the hormones.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 1:43PM
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Leigh_K

You were precribed estrogen after you had uterine cancer? This is highly unusual and highly dangerous, since estrogen feeds endometrial cancer and would of course feed any cells that remained after surgery.

You do realize that progesterone is also a hormone? And that it carries a long list of unpleasant side effects? Also you do realize that anything that can provide benefit can do harm? And that there is no such thing as "estrogen dominance?" Lee is a quack and a charlatan who is becoming very rich selling his nonsense.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 3:34PM
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jifrah

Its probably too late for you but after I asked they did a pathology test on my uterine tumor to see if it was estrogen dependent. I guess they keep a tissue sample for quite some time. Anyway - it was. Even so the gyn oncologist (not the doctor I trust on this subject although he did do a great job harvesting lymph nodes) still says "let me prescribe hrt right now." He is the only doctor I have who pushes it even though every thing I read contraindicates hormones for endometrial (uterine) cancer.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 3:43PM
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Leigh_K

It's possible that he is getting paid by a drug company to recruit subjects for clinical trials involving hormones and women with uterine cancer. He wouldn't necessarily tell you this, nor is he required to do so by law, since he can claim that the hormones were prescribed to prevent "menopausal signs" after surgery. This is one of the dirty little secrets of clinical trials discussed in the Washington Post article I posted a connection to a couple of weeks ago.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2002 at 4:48PM
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jifrah

Interesting concept. Since he always rags on my employer (large gov't overseer of health care) maybe I'll ask him about his ties to pharmaceuticals.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2002 at 11:31AM
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Leslie810

I have been off of them for awhile now and am feeling pretty good, except I am having hot flushes..........now I am rubbing natural progesterone cream twice a day...........my doctor said that this should help. It is OVC Natures Bounty, so we will see. Les

    Bookmark   January 16, 2002 at 7:09AM
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Sunflower_55

Hi All! Well I guess I could say I weaned myself,with the help of my doctor.off HRTs. I tried a great variety from the onset of my menopause at 50. Tried Prempro pills first then premarin cream, vagifem suppositories, Combi Patch, and finally Femhrt,also garden variety health food store over counter progestone creams, phyto proleif order by mail. Yep you name it I tried it to fight the bad hot flashes night sweats,insomnia, heart palpitations. Just plain fatigue worn out menopausal lady. So now at 55 I think I have run the race , analyzed that each had its good and bad effects on me but in general doc agreed I must be allergic to estrogen products synthetic or otherwise.So I decided to quit altogether no more trials and errors. My flashes were pretty bad at first withdrawl wise, then lessened. I have only mild ones now, not to say they won't return with a vengeance. But my heart palps did lead me to a echocardiogram . Mitral valve prolapse as I may have mentio9ned in previous thread. Fibromyalgia plagues me from my bouts with insomnia, advil or motrim suffices for now. Do to my run down sleepless conditon and teaching and cold weather and bronchitis, well now I have pneumonia and a suspicious lung xray (non smoker) so must go to a pulmonary specialist on Tues. Ruled out blood clot from a blood test so either scar tissue or hopefully not some malignant growth. Oh well aging is certainly not boring, eventful yes. Wouldn't or couldn't have it any other way. Sunflower_55

    Bookmark   January 18, 2002 at 3:54PM
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Leslie810

Hi there
As with you, I weaned myself off of HRT...of course with my doctors okay. I felt so badly that I wanted to go right backonit, but then most of all the nasty symptoms subsided. I do get hot flashes, but now I take Remefemin and natural progesterone cream (rubbed on skin twice a day)
I am glad I am off if it, but I do think that I did feel better while taking it for 5 years. But this has to be a choice each person makes for themselves. It took me almost a year to decide to come off of it. Leslie

    Bookmark   January 18, 2002 at 6:11PM
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New_Zealand

Hello there, I am 40 and have been on HRT for 10 years, since having my ovaries and everything else removed. Today I change from a patch to a pill. I am not sure about this as it is 3 weeks taking pills and 1 week off. Would greatly appreciate input from anyone who has or is doing the same. :-) Thanks

    Bookmark   January 24, 2002 at 5:16PM
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New_Zealand

Just realized I posted my message at the wrong place... (first time on a forum - or maybe just time for more HRT!! :-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2002 at 5:29PM
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