A persistent myth exists that it's dangerous to go on and off HRT. "It's not," says Dr. Minkin. In fact, she adds, women should feel free to experiment with HRT until they find the combination that works best for them—or decide they don't need it at all. "At no point do you have to make the decision, 'I'm going to do HRT for the rest of my life,' or 'I'm not going to do HRT for the rest of my life,'" she says. "If somebody wants to try it for a couple of months, that's fine. If somebody doesn't want to try it right now but maybe wants to give it a shot in a couple of months, that's fine, too."
Dr. Minkin also addresses the other major concern surrounding HRT—the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. "Taking estrogen for 2 months will not give you breast cancer," she says. Taking HRT for more than 10 years might cause a slightly high risk in breast cancer as well as in heart disease, stroke and blood clots. However, HRT consistently turns up as one of the best remedies for one of the most troublesome symptoms of menopause: hot flashes, says Dr. Minkin. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you based on your health history.