I'm kind of surprised to hear that your doctor kept upping the dose even when it wasn't working. Effexor is powerful stuff, and I have heard that quitting it can be like coming off of heroin - seriously! They say that it is best to wean yourself off slowly to avoid the "withdrawals". Luckily, you haven't been on it that long, so hopefully it won't be too rough in your case.
If your doctor says that not a candidate for HRT, I doubt that you'd want to take bioidentical hormones either, as they may have the same effect.
I will second Peggy's suggestion that you try the herbal approach. I had my hysterectomy nearly two years ago, and I couldn't handle the hormones either. It wasn't that the doctor said no, it was almost like I was allergic or something.
The one I use is Wisdom Menopause Formula. I have been using it for almost a year now, and it has worked wonders on my hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, everything! I personally know at least seven or eight other women who are taking it, and I have heard nothing but good comments.
Do yourself a favor and look into the side effects of Effexor. I have heard so many horror stories about problems trying to quit. You might want to talk to your doctor before you quit Effexor cold turkey, and ask her about Wisdom Menopause Formula. It really does work!
YOu might want to look into BHRT. I know, suzanne sommers had breast cancer, and she takes them.
If you don't want to do hormones, then you might want to look up the herbs for female hormonal balance. Some are black cohosh, some use soy, **** quai, damiana(sp)
there are others, but I can't think of them now.