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Side effects

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Side effects are usually observed during the first month or two from commencing therapy (1).

  • side effects may be caused by both oestrogens and progesterones
  • usually settles by the third month of treatment and in patients whom side effects continue, the type or route of oestrogen or progestogen should be changed

Some of the side effects of HRT include:

  • nausea and breast tenderness in 10% of cases
  • weight gain and fluid retention
  • premenstrual syndrome type-symptoms - a progestogen side-effect
  • headaches - a oestrogen side-effect
  • bloated sensation - associated with prostogens which slow bowel action
  • leg cramps - an oestrogen side-effect
  • slight increased risk of cholelithiasis
  • glucose tolerance may be impaired
  • very occasionally, there may be a marked increase in blood pressure


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