Health Alert:

COVID-19: The Latest Information from UPMC

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 

  • Abdominal cramps, bloating (distention)
  • Nausea and vomiting (throwing up)
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Changes in your liver function
  • Blood sugar levels may change
  • Swelling of your legs, ankles and/or feet
  • Breast pain
  • Enlargement of uterine fibroids
  • Menstrual bleeding may become irregular
  • Vaginal yeast infection
  • Headache
  • Darkening of the skin, or changes to the color of your skin
  • 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.
  • High blood pressure

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 orcoordination; 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: Take as prescribed by your doctor.
  • For all other forms: Refer to the package instructions for details on administration.
  • Missed tablet dose: If you miss or vomit a dose, call your doctor for instructions. Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
  • 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.
  • This drug may be present in the saliva, tears, sweat, urine, stool, vomit, semen, and vaginal secretions. Talk to your doctor and/or your nurse about the necessary precautions to take during this time.
  • Storage: Store this medicine in the original container at room temperature. Protect from light.
  • Disposal of unused medicine: Do not flush any expired and/or unused medicine down the toilet or drain unless you are specifically instructed to do so on the medication label. Some facilities have take-back programs and/or other options. If you do not have a take-back program in your area, then please 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 of 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 stop or 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.
  • Avoid gas-producing foods, such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, prunes and apricots.

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 100.4° 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 your abdomen, especially the right side
  • 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
  • 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. If this happens, call 911 for emergency care.
  • 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 or tenderness
  • 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 childbearing 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 July 2019

This patient information was developed by Via Oncology, LLC © 2019. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have.

CLIENT acknowledges that the Via Pathways and Via Portal are information management tools only, and that Via Oncology, LLC has not represented the Via Pathways or Via Portal as having the ability to diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, or perform any other tasks that constitute the practice of medicine. The clinical information contained in the Via Pathways and Via Portal are intended as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the knowledge, expertise, skill, and judgment of physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals involved with patient care at CLIENT facilities.