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Estradiol is a naturally occurring sex hormone produced by women in their ovaries; it is a type of estrogen that women need for their bodies to perform a myriad of functions. Estradiol has a variety of useful purposes in the medical world but one primary use is for the treatment of symptoms that come with menopause. Menopause can cause many symptoms, some annoying and some painful, and estradiol can help relieve symptoms in some women such as vaginal burning, itching, and dryness, as well as uncomfortable hot flashes. Estradiol is also used as a treatment for osteoporosis in women who are post-menopausal.


Your compounding pharmacist can compound estradiol into many convenient forms of delivery such as topicals (sprays, gels, and emulsions) as well as vaginal rings, skin patches, and tablets to be taken by mouth. Talk to your doctor about the various options, methods, and dosage information and he or she will guide you to a method of delivery that is right for you which your compounding pharmacist can tailor to your doctor's specifications.


Side effects can differ from person to person. Some women may experience few or no side effects though others may experience one or more side effects. Common side effects seen with estradiol are:

  • Headache
  • Breast Pain
  • Bloating or Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Vaginal Itching
  • Vaginal Discharge
  • Change in Menstrual Periods
  • Light Vaginal Bleeding
  • Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding (spotting)
  • Thinning Hair

If you feel any of the above side effects or other side effects not listed above are concerning, getting more severe, or persisting, contact your doctor.

Severe Side Effects:

Some women may experience more severe side effects. Severe side effects should not be dismissed and anyone experiencing anything severe should seek medical treatment immediately. A partial list of some severe side effects that may be encountered while using estradiol is provided below for your convenience. Please note this is a partial list.

Possible Heart Attack Symptoms:

  • Chest Pain and/or Pressure
  • Pain Spreading to Jaw or Shoulder
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

Possible Stroke Symptoms:

  • Sudden Numbness or Weakness
  • Sudden Severe Headache
  • Slurred Speech
  • Problems with Vision or Balance

Possible Blood Clot Symptoms (lung):

  • Chest Pain
  • Sudden Cough or Wheezing
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Coughing Blood

Possible Blood Clot Symptoms (leg):

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth or Redness in Legs, or Just in One Leg

Other Possible Severe Side Effects:

  • Swelling and/or Tenderness in Stomach
  • Jaundice
  • Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
  • Lump In Breast
  • Fluid Retention
  • High Levels of Calcium in Blood (consult your doctor for various symptoms)

Watch for Signs of Severe Allergic Reaction:
While severe allergic reactions to estradiol are rare, they can occur. Be careful to notice any signs of a severe allergic reaction and get emergency medical help immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Facial Swelling
  • Tongue Swelling
  • Throat Swelling
  • Extreme Dizziness
  • Intense Rash and/or Itching
  • Trouble with Breathing

IMPORTANT NOTE: As some 'common side effects' may be similar or the same as some 'severe side effects' whenever there is a question as to whether you need to seek medical treatment immediately, always err on the side of caution and seek medical treatment if you feel concerned in any way.


There is an extremely long list of possible medical conditions, diseases, drug interactions, etc. that could make the use of estradiol inadvisable for some patients. Anyone considering using estradiol in any form should first have a complete medical review and consultation with their primary care doctor to discuss all possible contraindications, warnings, and concerns.

Do not use if pregnant.

Estradiol use over a long-term period may increase risks for certain cancers; talk to your doctor about all the risks, the pros and cons of using estradiol for your treatment, as well as your prognosis and expected course of use if estradiol is prescribed.

Remember to disclose to your doctor all medications, supplements, pharmacy drugs or street drugs, herbal products, etc. that you are currently using or have recently used as interactions may be very dangerous, decrease potency of the estradiol, or cause an increase in severity of side effects.

  • "It is rare to find health professionals who are so willing to educate the patient on what they need to know."

    Clair C. | West Hollywood, CA