You must have heard about Estrogen before. It is one of the sex hormones that a woman’s ovaries produce. This hormone is vital for many important processes in a woman’s body. So what is conjugated estrogen? This refers to a mixture (non-crystalized) of purified estrogen hormones. Experts used it for treating diverse health issues. Sometimes, to make conjugated estrogens, hormones are isolated from pregnant mares’ urine. Some others are also made synthetically from plant material. The conjugation of these 2 with natrium sulfate makes the mixture more soluble in water and yields conjugated estrogen. In 1942, experts proved the effects of this mixture against certain health problems. So, relevant bodies in America approved it for marketing.
While it was approved in 1942, clinical trials continued until 1986. By the end of the trials, experts were sure that this product would be great for treating osteoporosis. What we have in the market today, however, is the mixture developed by Wyeth-Ayerst labs. The FDA approved it in 2003. This drug works just like the natural estrogen that your body makes. However, the activities vary depending on the proportion and quantity of estrogen receptors in various tissues. But in all, the tissues respond to this hormonal drug by increasing DNA and RNA synthesis, as well as that of various proteins. This will, in turn, will send signals for your body to release less of certain hormones.
Uses of Conjugated Estrogen
Remember that the contents of this medication are a mixture of estrogen female hormones. So it is mostly administered to women. After menopause, a woman’s body makes less estrogen. This can cause several symptoms.
Some of these symptoms include vaginal dryness and hot flashes, among many others. Conjugated estrogens can make more estrogen available to the body and cure these symptoms.
Clinically, administering conjugated estrogens does quite a several things. They are as follows:
- Experts say that it promotes vasomotor stability
- Conjugated estrogens can help maintain the functions of your genitourinary system.
- It supports the normal development and growth of female sexual hormones.
- Experts successfully demonstrated how this mixture can inhibit one resorption and prevent accelerated loss of bone, especially after menopause. It also
- As per hormonal functions, it potently inhibits luteinizing hormone. It also decreases testosterone concentration in the serum.
Based on these effects, conjugated estrogens can be used to treat several conditions. These include the following:
- To treat vasomotor symptoms that occur as a result of menopause (either moderate or severe)
- It also helps treat mild or severe vulvar atrophy or vaginal dryness that happens after menopause.
- Treating hypo-estrogenism (too low estrogen). This could happen as a result of hypogonadism, primary failure of the ovaries, or castration.
- It is a palliative treatment option for breast cancer. But the patients must be appropriately selected. Many times, it is used only for those who have metastatic disease.
- It is also a palliative treatment option for prostate cancer, particularly the androgen-dependent type.
- Conjugated estrogens are used as preventive therapy for postmenopausal osteoporosis
If you want to use conjugated estrogens for vaginal symptoms only, you should better use a product that you can directly apply inside your vagina. These are more preferable than oral medications or those taken through other means. These are safer options.
This product is an oral med. So you should only take it by mouth. You can use it with food if you like. But it is not compulsory. However, taking it with food or just after food may help prevent events of stomach upset.
Some conjugated estrogen products are termed “extended-release tablets”. Please avoid crushing, chewing, or dissolving them. If you do, the entire drug might be released into your system all at once. This might, in turn, increase the risks of adverse effects.
What Are The Likely Side Effects?
You may experience stomach upset, bloating, nausea/vomiting, breast tenderness, weight changes, or headache. But these are often just mild. In case any of them become severe or persists, inform your pharmacist or physician promptly.
Some people have reported seeing the tablet in their stool. Inform your physician immediately if this happens.
However, don’t forget that your doctor would not have prescribed conjugated estrogens for you if he doesn’t think the benefits outweigh the risks. So, there is no need to panic. Just go back to your doctor if you notice anything strange.
There is hardly going to be any danger from using conjugated estrogens. But then, we can’t completely rule them out as they sometimes occur. Some of the common serious contraindications of conjugated estrogens are as follows:
- Memory loss, depression, or other mental or mood changes.
- Recurrent or prolonged vaginal bleeding, as well as other unusual bleeding episodes, such as breakthrough bleeding or spotting.
- Breast lumps
- Increased vaginal irritation or even new irritation. This would include symptoms like itching, discharge, and/or odor.
- Severe abdominal pain
- Your eyes or skin turn yellow
- Dark urine
- Persistent nausea and vomiting
- Swollen hands, feet, and/or ankles (indicating fluid retention)
- Increased urination and/or thirst
Prolonged use of this med is discouraged. It may put you at risk of a few fatal health issues. These include:
- Deep-vein thrombosis
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
Seek prompt medical assistance if you notice any signs associated with these fatal conditions. Some of them include angina pain, difficult breathing, sudden and severe headache, and severe sweating, among others.
Maternal Concerns with Conjugated Estrogens
Children are more at risk of this med’s side effects. And it may negatively affect their development and growth. As such, if your child is placed on this medication, talk with the physician about the likely risks. Also, monitor the child’s growth from time to time.
More so, don’t use conjugated estrogen during pregnancy. And if take in while you’re already on the med. Let your doctor know right away. You should also consult your physician before breast-feeding if you are taking this med. Other than for these general concerns, it is safe and very effective.