Oestrogen drugs

A group of synthetically produced drugs that are used in oral contraceptives and to supplement or replace the body’s own oestrogen hormones. Oestrogen drugs are often used together with progestogen drugs. Oestrogens suppress the production of gonadotrophin hormones, which stimulate cell activity in the ovaries. High doses are used in postcoital contraception to prevent conception (see contraception, emergency). They are also used to treat, or sometimes prevent, menopausal symptoms and disorders. Oestrogens may be used to treat certain forms of infertility, female hypogonadism, abnormal menstrual bleeding, prostatic cancer (see prostate, cancer of), and certain types of breast cancer. Oestrogens may cause breast tenderness and enlargement, bloating, weight gain, nausea, reduced sex drive, depression, migraine, and bleeding between periods. Side effects often subside after 2 or 3 months. The drugs can increase the risk of abnormal blood clotting and susceptibility to high blood pressure (see hypertension). Oestrogen drugs should not be taken in pregnancy as they may adversely affect the fetus.


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