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Hormone Replacement Therapy

Drug Class: Commonly Known As: Category:
Premarin, Estrofem, Progynova, Activelle, Femoston, Trisequens, Progyluton

Hormone Replacement Therapy - Side Effects, Precautions, and Contraindications

What side effects can Hormone Replacement Therapy cause?

Common side effects include:
  • Breakthrough bleeding and spotting (menstrual bleeding outside of menses period)
    • May occur during the first few months of treatment or if doses are missed. If it continues after the first months of treatment, appears after some time during therapy, or continues after treatment has been stopped, ask your doctor for advice.
  • Mood changes
    • Take medication at the same time every day to avoid huge changes in the hormone levels in your body, which can lead to mood changes.
  • Breast tenderness, slight bloating or fluid retention
  • Nausea and vomiting
    • Take the medication after food to reduce these side effects.
  • Headache
    • You may take Paracetamol to manage headaches. Do make sure that you are drinking enough water.

Taking HRT increases a woman’s risk of developing blood clots and breast cancer. However, these are rare and the doctor would have evaluated and weighed its benefits over risks before making the recommendation. Please discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns.

  • The symptoms of blood clot include one or more of the following:
    • Any unusual sudden cough, breathlessness or difficulty in breathing
    • Severe pain in the chest which may reach the left arm
    • Severe pain in legs or swelling in either of your legs
    • Weakness or numbness in any part of your body
    • Change in your speech, including slurring of words
    • Change in your senses of hearing, smell or taste
    • Vision changes such as loss of vision/ blurred vision

It is also advisable to regularly check your breasts while you are on HRT.  If you notice any unusual changes, please see your doctor immediately.

Other rare but serious side effects that you may or may not experience include:

  • Unexpected, heavy or longer than usual menstrual bleeding
  • Dark urine or light coloured stools, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach pain, yellowing of your eyes or skin
  • Bothersome mood changes

The symptoms of a drug allergy include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen face/eyes/lips/tongue
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Itchy skin rashes over your whole body

If you experience any of these side effects/ symptoms, you should stop your medication and see your healthcare professional immediately.

Before taking Hormone Replacement Therapy , what precautions must I follow?

This medication is NOT meant to be as a birth control method and would not prevent you from getting pregnant.

Inform your healthcare professional if:

  • You are allergic to this medication or any of the other ingredients of this medication.
  • You are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • You are taking any other medications, including supplements, traditional medications and herbal remedies.
  • You have a history of or current medical conditions such as liver problems, stroke, heart disease, blood clots, migraine headaches, epilepsy, diabetes mellitus or cancer.
  • You are going for a surgery. You may need to stop taking HRT for a couple of weeks before the surgery.

What food or medicine must I avoid when I take Hormone Replacement Therapy ?

​Some medications including antibiotics, antifungals and St John’s wort may affect how HRT works or be affected by HRT. Please inform other healthcare professionals about the HRT you are taking if you are seeing them for other medical conditions.

Hormone Replacement Therapy - Additional Information

  • Updated on 10/31/2022 12:00:00 AM
  • Article contributed by PSS National Medication Information Workgroup PSS National Medication Information Workgroup
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth


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