Estrogen injections usually contain the estrogen form, Estradiol. This female hormone regulates various body processes. You can, therefore, use estrogen to treat problems with low estrogen. This is usually common in post-menopausal women. Doctors also recommend it for treating women whose ovaries have been removed. The ovaries produce a major percentage of the estrogen in a woman’s body. That also means that if a woman’s ovaries are not working well, she may need estrogen injection. Low estrogen symptoms include vaginal problems (such as irritation, burning, and dryness) and hot flashes.
Estrogen is indeed a female hormone. But don’t think that estrogen injection is only useful for women. It can be useful for some men too. Some prostate cancer types also respond to estrogen therapy. However, this is only palliative treatment. Estrogen cannot cure prostate cancer. But it can help manage the condition. It would help treat some of its symptoms. And since it’s an injection we’re talking about, it’s not for home use. It should be administered by a certified healthcare professional. They have the proper training to safely administer injections. As you read on in this article, we will tell you more about the different uses of estrogen injection. We will also talk about the possible dangers and side effects.
Uses of Estrogen Injections
Estrogen injection can be helpful for treating hot flushes. This refers to a sudden strong feeling of heat, which usually comes with excessive sweating. It also treats vaginal dryness, burning, and itching. These are common symptoms of menopause.
Menopause is a major season of change in a woman’s life. It signifies the end of her menstrual periods. But then, if the only menopause symptoms you have are vaginal problems, you should use other treatment methods. Creams are safer than injections.
Aside from menopause, estrogen can also relieve the symptoms of young women who have low estrogen levels. Sometimes, these young women do not naturally make enough estrogen.
Some prostate cancer symptoms also get better with estrogen injection. So men can benefit from this female hormone injection too.
Conjugated estrogen injections also help in treating abnormal bleeding from the vagina. However, it is only helpful if the doctor decides that the abnormal bleeding is due to fluctuating hormone levels. This injection works as replacement therapy.
Estrogen injection comes in a liquid form and it is injected into a person’s muscle. A healthcare professional would usually inject the medication to the recipient once every three to four weeks. This is the usual dosage for women with estrogen problems.
The dosage is, however, different when you are using the injection to treat prostate cancer symptoms. Healthcare professionals give it once every one to two weeks to prostate cancer patients who need the injection.
Conjugated estrogen injection comes in powdered form. Healthcare professionals will mix the powder with water (sterile) first before they inject it into a vein or muscle. They usually inject it as one single dose. They may choose to inject another dose six to twelve hours later to manage vaginal bleeding.
If what you are treating is hot flushes, you should improve after a day or 5 days at most after receiving the injection. Let your doctor know if the symptoms refuse to improve.
What Risks Are Involved?
Estrogen injections increase the risks of developing cancer; particularly endometrial cancer. This refers to cancer cells growing in your uterine (or womb) lining. The more prolonged your use is, the higher the risk of having endometrial cancer.
Except if your uterus has been removed by a surgical process called “hysterectomy”, you should take progestin (another medication) alongside estrogen injection. Doing this would decrease endometrial cancer risks. However, it may increase the risks of other health issues, such as breast cancer.
Don’t start treatment with estrogen injection if you have a history of cancer except you first inform your attending physician. You should also let your physician know if you have any unusual bleeding you’re your vagina. And when you have started the treatment, let your physician know immediately if there is any incidence of unusual or abnormal bleeding from your vagina.
Your doctor should also monitor your health closely throughout the period of estrogen treatment. You should be screened for cancer both during your treatment and afterward.
Large studies have proven that long-term use of estrogen and progestins can cause health problems, such as:
- Heart attacks
- Blood clots (especially in the legs or lungs)
- Breast cancer
- Dementia (refers to the loss of cognitive abilities)
Let your attending physician know if you use tobacco or smoke. If you also have a personal or family history of any of the aforementioned conditions, inform your attending physician. A history of high BP, high cholesterol, lupus, breast lumps, or diabetes must also be discussed.
The following are symptoms that could indicate a serious health condition:
- Sudden and severe headache
- Speech problems
- Sudden and severe vomiting
- Faintness or dizziness
- Sudden loss of memory (partial or complete)
You can reduce the likelihood of health risks by taking certain steps while on estrogen therapy. They are as follows:
- Use the minimum dose possible to help control your symptoms. More so, use estrogen injections only for as long as it is needed. Every three to six months, discuss with your doctor about reviewing your dosage. Let him evaluate you again and decide whether you should switch to a lower dosage or discontinue the treatment.’
- Do breast self-examinations monthly and go to the clinic for a mammogram screening every year. This will help detect any signs of breast cancer soon enough. Sometimes, if you have some family or personal cancer history, your doctor may recommend that you come for mammogram screening twice or more every year.
- Avoid this medication if you are preparing for surgery or if you are taking prolonged bed rest. This would reduce the risks of clot formation.
Finally, have regular discussions with your physician about the benefits and risks of estrogen injections. That way, you can correctly weigh your options and make the best decision for your health.