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I've been on Vivelle Dot for about 5 years and started immediately after my total hysterectory. It has been great in that as long as I have been on the lowest dose of this patch I have not had any symptoms or flashes, etc. I recently went off of it since I feel that 5 years is enough time on this medication. I'm trying to get through the flashes and some days they are really kicking in!
What is the current recommendation for the length of time spent on estrogen therapy????
I've been on hrt for 10 years now, have no plans to discontinue it in the near future. I think it depends on age, symptoms and other medical factors. I do have annual bloodwork and mammogram. My doctor says as long as everything checks out okay I can continue as long as I want.
I have heard the five year time frame as a reference point, but everyone is different and I think that also refers to those in natural menopause. The 5 year thing came out after the WHI study was halted and everyone panicked. As we now know, the study was a bit flawed and things were read into the results that weren't really there.
That said, it is a personal decision, one best made by you and your doctor. My personal opinion is that if you are doing well, why mess up a good thing.
My mother had the most aggressive type of breast cancer a year ago. She is now cancer free!!! My doctor wants me on hrt as little as possible. I am 7 weeks out and will cut my dosage in half in the fall. If that goes well, I will be off by the end of this year or early next year. She told me that new research shows that anything over 2 years raises your chances of breast cancer - especially if there is a family history of it. My father's grandmother died of breast cancer, so I get a chance from both sides! I agree that your medical history and family history play a big part in how long should be ok for you and your doctor is your best source for the correct answer to your question.
I was under the impression the increased breast cancer risk came with using oral estrogen with/without progestin (synthetic progesterone). From what I've researched, using transdermal bio-identical estrogen (to avoid first liver pass) and natural bio-identical progesterone, the risk is not significantly raised.
I plan to stay on it for life. After all, those who go through natural menopause and still have ovaries are still producing up to 40% of the estrogen they made pre-menopausally. Our bodies have estrogen receptors all over, not just the pelvic region. I will stay on it for brain health, joint health, heart health, bone health and sexual/urinary health among others. I too have family history of breast cancer but my quality of life outweighs that slim risk of using HRT so I will not give up my estrogen (non-oral form).
As Kim says, as long as you have regular normal mammograms, physical exams, bloodwork, you'll be aware of any changes that might affect your health and can make a decision with your doctor at that time.
I agree with Kim and Calypso 100%!!!!! Don't go by the misinformation started by the WHI and panic. Your quality of life is so important and much of the time the benefits far outweigh the risks! Do your research, trust your body! Good luck to you!