Estradiol

About This Drug

Estradiol is used to treat or prevent symptoms of menopause, hormonal imbalances and some types of cancer. It is given orally (by mouth), topically (applied to the skin), transdermally (as a spray or patch), vaginally, or by injection in a muscle (intramuscularly).

Possible Side Effects

  • Headache
  • Hair loss. Hair loss is often temporary, although with certain medicine, hair loss can sometimes be permanent. Hair loss may happen suddenly or gradually. If you lose hair, you may lose it from your head, face, armpits, pubic area, chest, and/or legs. You may also notice your hair getting thin.
  • Breast pain
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Abdominal cramps, bloating (distention)
  • Nausea and throwing up (vomiting)
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Blood sugar levels may change. If you have diabetes, changes may need to be made to your diabetes medication
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Enlargement of uterine fibroids
  • Darkening of the skin or changes to the color of your skin
  • Menstrual bleeding may become irregular
  • Vaginal yeast infection

Note: Not all possible side effects are included above. You may experience different side effects depending on the formulation you are prescribed.

Warnings and Precautions

  • This drug may raise your risk of getting uterus, breast and/or ovarian cancer
  • Stroke. Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden bad headache with no known cause.If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Heart attack
  • Blood clots and events such as stroke and heart attack.A blood clot in your leg may cause your leg to swell, appear red and warm, and/or cause pain. A blood clot in your lungs may cause trouble breathing, pain when breathing, and/or chest pain
  • Inflammation of the gallbladder. Possible signs are nausea/vomiting, fever, tenderness in the right side of the abdomen.
  • Risk of dementia
  • Increase in calcium in patients with breast cancer that has spread to the bone.
  • Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis are rare but may happen in some patients. Signs of allergic reaction to this drug may be swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way. If this happens, do not take another dose of this drug. You should get urgent medical treatment.

Note:Some of the side effects above are very rare. If you have concerns and/or questions, please discuss them with your medical team

How to Take Your Medication

  • For Tablets: You can take the medicine with or without food.
  • For all other forms:Refer to the package instructions for details on administration.
  • Missed tablet dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you think about it. If it is close to your next dose, then skip the missed dose and go back to your normal schedule.Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • If you vomit a dose, take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take 2 doses at the same time.
  • If you miss a dose of non-tablet formulation, contact your physician for instructions.
  • Handling: Wash your hands after handling your medicine, your caretakers should not handle your medicine with bare hands and should wear latex gloves.
  • Storage: Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature. Discuss with your nurse or your doctor how to dispose of unused medicine.

Treating Side Effects

  • Keeping your pain under control is important to your well-being. Please tell your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (a minimum of eight glasses per day is recommended).
  • If you throw up or have loose bowel movements, you should drink more fluids so that you do not become dehydrated (lack water in the body from losing too much fluid).
  • To help with nausea and vomiting, eat small, frequent meals instead of three large meals a day. Choose foods and drinks that are at room temperature. Ask your nurse or doctor about other helpful tips and medicine that is available to help or stop lessen these symptoms.
  • If you have diabetes, keep good control of your blood sugar level. Tell your nurse or your doctor if your glucose levels are higher or lower than normal.
  • To help with hair loss, wash with a mild shampoo and avoid washing your hair every day.
  • Avoid rubbing your scalp, pat your hair or scalp dry.
  • Avoid coloring your hair.
  • Limit your use of hair spray, electric curlers, blow dryers, and curling irons.
  • Moisturize your skin several times day.
  • Avoid sun exposure and apply sunscreen routinely when outdoors.

Food and Drug Interactions

  • There are no known interactions of estradiol with food.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist about all other prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs and others) you are taking before starting this medicine as there are known drug interactions with estradiol. Also, check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or dietary supplements to make sure that there are no interactions.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have any of these symptoms and/or any new or unusual symptoms:

  • Fever of 100.5 F (38 C) or higher
  • A headache that does not go away
  • Blurry vision or other changes in eyesight
  • Wheezing and/or trouble breathing
  • Symptoms of a stroke such as sudden numbness or weakness of your face, arm, or leg, mostly on one side of your body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, feeling dizzy, loss of balance or coordination; or sudden, bad headache with no known cause.If you have any of these symptoms for 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Chest pain or symptoms of a heart attack. Most heart attacks involve pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. The pain may go away and come back or it can be constant. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. Sometimes pain is felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. If any of these symptoms last 2 minutes, call 911.
  • Pain in the right side of your abdomen
  • ]Nausea that stops you from eating or drinking and/or is not relieved by prescribed medicines
  • Throwing up more than 3 times a day
  • Abnormal blood sugar
  • Unusual thirst, passing urine often, headache, sweating, shakiness, irritability, rapid and deep breathing
  • Your leg or arm is swollen, red, warm and/or painful
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Weight gain of 5 pounds in one week (fluid retention)
  • Signs of allergic reaction: swelling of the face, feeling like your tongue or throat are swelling, trouble breathing, rash, itching, fever, chills, feeling dizzy, and/or feeling that your heart is beating in a fast or not normal way
  • Signs of possible liver problems: dark urine, pale bowel movements, bad stomach pain, feeling very tired and weak, unusual itching, or yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding, or abnormal vaginal bleeding (post menopause)
  • Breast lumps
  • Breast pain and/or nipple discharge
  • If you think you may be pregnant

Reproduction Warnings

  • Pregnancy warning: This drug may have harmful effects on the unborn baby. Women of child bearing potential should use effective methods of birth control during your treatment. Estradiol should not be used in pregnant women. Let your doctor know right away if you think you may be pregnant.
  • Breastfeeding warning: Women should not breastfeed during treatment because this drug could enter the breast milk and cause harm to a breastfeeding baby.
  • Fertility warning: Human fertility studies have not been done with this drug. Talk with your doctor or nurse if you plan to have children.

Revised April 2018

This information is intended to provide helpful health information to the general public and is not to be used in place of any medical, health, psychological, or any other kind of personal professional services. The information herein does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of the medicines mentioned, nor is the information intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular medication. The dose, method of administration and contraindications for any administered medication should be confirmed before use.UPMC specifically disclaims all responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any medication mentioned herein.