Estrogen plays a vital role within the female body; it affects our sexual functions, the general development and growth of our organs and the menstrual cycle that dictates our reproductive system. Unfortunately, during the menopausal transition or after a hysterectomy, the production of estrogen seriously declines and will eventually lead to none being produced in the ovaries at all.
When this happens, or while it happens, the female body is likely to experience some uncomfortable and distressing changes. These are known as menopausal symptoms and include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, and irregular periods.
Many women will choose to rebalance their hormone levels so that the symptoms and their effects are lessened in severity, duration, and frequency. Bioidentical hormones have recently become a popular choice of method to balance hormone levels. This is the process whereby plant-based or compounded hormones, which are identical to the hormones that are produced in our glands but are engineered in a lab, are introduced into the body. One form of this is bioidentical estrogen and it mimics the estrogen produced in a woman's ovaries. It is usually administered in the form of creams, pills, sprays, suppositories, or patches. However, this form of treatment can have serious side effects.
What Are the Side Effects of Bioidentical Estrogen?
As with many health treatments, there are a range of side effects and it is no different for bioidentical estrogen. The treatment can be effective in relieving menopausal symptoms, but it can cause alternative issues. Some side effects are less serious than others; however, if you do experience any of them, then you should talk to your doctor and reconsider use of the laboratory-produced hormone supplements. The side effects of bioidentical estrogen can be divided into mild or severe categories.
Mild Side Effects
- Loss of libido
- Upset stomach
- Increase in mood swings, or irritation
- Change in appetite
- Skin rash or acne
- Vaginal yeast infections
Serious Side Effects
- Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
- Changes to the breasts including enlargement, unusual discharge and/or milk production
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe migraines and headaches
- Chest, leg, arm, or groin pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Vision or speech problems
- Swelling in the fingers, hands, or ankles.
- Rapid weight gain causing a rise in blood pressure
Despite these side effects, bioidentical estrogen can have positive effects on all menopausal symptoms and other conditions such as infertility, osteoporosis, depression, andropause, and others. It is important to remember; however, that despite the plant-based hormones functioning in the same way as the estrogen in the body, it is still an unnatural way to balance your estrogen levels and this must be considered before use.
It is important for you to further research bioidentical hormone treatment before deciding to use it. Despite its effectiveness, the side effects have to be taken into consideration. Talk to your doctor and get advice. After all, there are changes you can make to your lifestyle that will help to rebalance estrogen levels so it might be worth trying these before reaching for estrogen pills or creams. Follow this link to find out more about increasing estrogen levels.