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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Estrogens : Side Effects

Estrogens (Systemic)

Estrogens | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects | Additional Information

Side Effects of This Medicine

Women rarely have severe side effects from taking estrogens to replace estrogen. Discuss these possible effects with your doctor:

  • The prolonged use of estrogens has been reported to increase the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus) in women after menopause. This risk seems to increase as the dose and the length of use increase. When estrogens are used in low doses for less than 1 year, there is less risk. The risk is also reduced if a progestin (another female hormone) is added to, or replaces part of, your estrogen dose. If the uterus has been removed by surgery (total hysterectomy), there is no risk of endometrial cancer.
  • It is not yet known whether the use of estrogens increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Although some large studies show an increased risk, most studies and information gathered to date do not support this idea. Breast cancer has been reported in men taking estrogens.

    The following side effects may be caused by blood clots, which could lead to stroke, heart attack, or death. These side effects occur rarely, and, when they do occur, they occur in men treated for cancer using high doses of estrogens. Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

      Rare - for males being treated for breast or prostate cancer only

        Headache (sudden or severe); loss of coordination (sudden); loss of vision or change of vision (sudden); pains in chest, groin, or leg, especially in calf of leg; shortness of breath (sudden and unexplained); slurring of speech (sudden); weakness or numbness in arm or leg

    Also, check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

      More common

        Breast pain (in females and males); fast heartbeat; fever; hives; hoarseness; increased breast size (in females and males); irritation of skin; itching of skin; joint pain, stiffness or swelling; rash; redness of skin; shortness of breath; swelling of eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet; swelling of feet and lower legs; tightness in chest; troubled breathing or swallowing; weight gain (rapid); wheezing

      Less common or rare

        Changes in vaginal bleeding (spotting, breakthrough bleeding, prolonged or heavier bleeding, or complete stoppage of bleeding); chest pain; chills; cough; heavy nonmenstrual vaginal bleeding; lumps in, or discharge from, breast (in females and males); pains in stomach, side, or abdomen; yellow eyes or skin

Frequency not determined

Abdominal bloating; abdominal cramps; acid or sour stomach; anxiety; backache; belching; blindness; blistering, peeling, loosening of skin; blue-yellow color blindness; blurred vision; change in vaginal discharge; changes in vision; changes in skin color; chest discomfort; clay-colored stools; clear or bloody discharge from nipple; confusion; constipation; convulsions; dark urine; decrease in amount of urine; decreased vision; depression; diarrhea; difficulty breathing; difficulty in speaking; dimpling of breast skin; dizziness; double vision; dry mouth; eye pain; fainting; fluid-filled skin blisters; full feeling in upper abdomen; full or bloated feeling or pressure in the stomach; headache; heartburn; inability to move arms, legs, or facial muscles; inability to speak; incoherent speech; increased urination; indigestion; inverted nipple; irregular heartbeats; light-colored stools; lightheadedness; loss of appetite; loss of bladder control; lump under the arm; metallic taste; migraine headache; mood or mental changes; muscle cramps in hands, arms, feet, legs, or face; muscle pain; muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities; muscle weakness; nausea; noisy breathing; numbness or tingling of hands, feet, or face; pain in ankles or knees; pains in chest, groin, or legs, especially calves of legs; pain or discomfort in arms, jaw, back or neck; pain or feeling of pressure in pelvis; painful or tender cysts in the breasts; painful, red lumps under the skin, mostly on the legs; pain; tenderness; swelling of foot or leg; partial or complete loss of vision in eye; pelvic pain; persistent crusting or scaling of nipple; pinpoint red or purple spots on skin; prominent superficial veins over affected area; red, irritated eyes; redness or swelling of breast; sensitivity to the sun; severe headaches of sudden onset; skin thinness; skin warmth; slow speech; sore on the skin of the breast that does not heal; sore throat; sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips; stomach discomfort, upset or pain; sudden loss of consciousness; sudden loss of coordination; sudden onset of shortness of breath for no apparent reason; sudden onset of slurred speech; sudden vision changes; sweating; swelling of abdominal or stomach area; swelling of fingers or hands; thirst; tremor; unpleasant breath odor; unusual tiredness or weakness; vomiting; vomiting of blood; weight loss

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

    More common

      Abnormal growth filled with fluid or semisolid material; accidental injury; bladder pain; bloated full feeling; bloody or cloudy urine; body aches or pain; coating or white patches on tongue; congestion; cough producing mucus; decrease in amount of urine; difficult, burning, or painful urination; discouragement; dryness of throat; ear congestion or pain; excess air or gas in stomach or intestines; fear; feeling of warmth; feeling sad or empty; frequent urge to urinate; general feeling of discomfort or illness; headache, severe and throbbing; increased clear or white vaginal discharge; irritability; itching of the vaginal, rectal or genital areas; lack of appetite; lack or loss of strength; loss of interest or pleasure; mild dizziness; neck pain; nervousness; pain; pain during sexual intercourse; painful or difficult urination; pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones; passing gas; redness of the face, neck, arms and occasionally, upper chest; runny nose; skin irritation or redness where skin patch was worn; shivering; sleeplessness; sneezing; sore mouth or tongue; stuffy nose; sudden sweating; tender, swollen glands in neck; thick, white vaginal discharge with no odor or with a mild odor; tiredness; trouble concentrating; trouble sleeping; unable to sleep; voice changes

    Less common

      Blemishes on the skin; burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles" , or tingling feelings; burning or stinging of skin; diarrhea (mild); dizziness (mild); increased hair growth, especially on the face; lower abdominal pain or pressure; mood or mental changes; muscle stiffness; difficulty in moving; painful cold sores or blisters on lips, nose, eyes, or genitals; pimples; pounding in the ears; slow heartbeat; problems in wearing contact lenses; tooth or gum pain; unusual decrease in sexual desire (in males); unusual increase in sexual desire (in females); white or brownish vaginal discharge

    Frequency not determined

      abdominal pain; abnormal turning out of cervix; changes in appetite; dull ache or feeling of pressure or heaviness in legs; fatigue; flushed, dry skin; fruit-like breath odor; increased hunger; irritability; large amount of triglyceride in the blood; leg cramps; patchy brown or dark brown discoloration of skin; twitching, uncontrolled movements of tongue, lips, face, arms, or legs; unexpected or excess milk flow from breasts

Also, many women who are taking estrogens with a progestin (another female hormone) will start having monthly vaginal bleeding, similar to menstrual periods, again. This effect will continue for as long as the medicine is taken. However, monthly bleeding will not occur in women who have had the uterus removed by surgery (total hysterectomy).

This medicine may cause loss or thinning of scalp hair in some people.

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Estrogens: Additional Information

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