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What are some side effects of estrogen therapy?

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Quick Answer

Side effects of estrogen therapy include heightened risk of stroke, blood clots, cancer and heart attack. Other side effects may include painful or swollen breasts, vaginal discharge, headache and nausea, according to WebMD. There are a few different types of estrogen therapy, and all of them cause different side effects.

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Full Answer

A common form of estrogen therapy comes in pill form. Because forms of hormone therapy that are taken orally can be hard on the liver, people suffering from pre-existing liver damage should choose a different way of getting estrogen, states WebMD.

Side effects from hormone patches occur as well, although these effects may be milder than when the patient receives the medication in pill form, notes WebMD. The patches themselves may cause minor skin irritation, and they should not receive direct sunlight or high heat exposure. Heating an estrogen patch can cause the rate of hormone release to increase toward the beginning of the patch's life, which leads to a reduced release rate toward the end.

Medical experts have not thoroughly researched topical gels, creams and sprays for estrogen therapy as of August 2015, advises WebMD. The assumption is that such applications carry similar side effects to other forms of administration and pose the threat of washing or rubbing off before full absorption occurs.

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