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What are the side effects of hormone therapy?

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Quick Answer

Hormone therapy, depending on the type a patient receives, can include side effects of tiredness, menopausal symptoms, hair thinning, digestive problems and weight gain, notes Cancer Research UK. Other common reactions are headaches, blood clots, mood swings and depression, memory problems, and effects on the muscles and bones.

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Full Answer

Nausea, constipation or diarrhea can be side effects of hormone therapy in women, and they are usually mild and settle down within days or may be controlled with medicine or diet, states Cancer Research UK. Depending on the person and hormone therapy being prescribed, appetite can increase or decrease. For women who are pre-menopausal or have been through menopause, hot flashes, a reduced sex drive, sweating and vaginal dryness can be side effects of hormone therapy. Headaches can be relieved with mild pain medicine, and memory problems can be helped by making lists. Weight-bearing exercise and other activities, such as jogging and cycling, can build up bones and reduce pain in the joints.

For men taking hormone therapy, many of the side effects are the same as for women, according to Cancer Research UK. A few differences are breast tenderness, risk of an earlier heart attack, pain from tumor flare, difficulty achieving an erection and bone changes.

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