Estradiol patches – common side effects

Estradiol patches are a form of hormone replacement therapy commonly used in gender-affirming care for transgender women (assigned male at birth) or individuals with androgen-dependent conditions. These patches deliver estradiol, a form of estrogen hormone, through the skin into the bloodstream. While estrogen therapy can be effective in feminising the body and alleviating gender dysphoria, it’s important to be aware of potential unwanted/adverse/side effects. Here are some of them:

Side EffectDescription
Skin irritationSome individuals may experience skin irritation or redness at the application site of the estradiol patch. This can include itching, burning, or discomfort.
Breast tenderness and enlargementEstradiol therapy, including estradiol patches, can cause breast tenderness, soreness, and enlargement due to the promotion of breast tissue development.
NauseaNausea or gastrointestinal discomfort may occur as a side effect of estradiol therapy, though this is usually mild and transient.
HeadachesHeadaches are a common side effect of estradiol therapy, including estradiol patch use. These headaches may range from mild to moderate in severity.
Mood changesSome individuals may experience mood swings, emotional sensitivity, or changes in emotional well-being while taking estradiol therapy.
Fluid retentionEstradiol therapy can lead to fluid retention, causing swelling or bloating in the hands, feet, or other parts of the body.
Weight changesSome individuals may experience changes in body weight or distribution as a side effect of estradiol therapy.
Skin changesEstradiol therapy may cause changes in skin texture, including increased softness or oiliness, as well as changes in pigmentation.
Decreased libidoA decrease in libido (sex drive) can occur as a side effect of estradiol therapy due to changes in hormone levels.
FatigueFatigue or feelings of lethargy may occur as a side effect of estradiol therapy, particularly during the initial period of adjustment.
Decreased fertilityEstradiol therapy can suppress sperm production and fertility in individuals assigned male at birth. It’s essential to discuss fertility preservation options with a healthcare provider if fertility preservation is desired.
Thromboembolic eventsWhile less common, there is a risk of thromboembolic events (such as blood clots) associated with estradiol therapy, particularly in individuals with other risk factors for thrombosis.
Rare allergic reactionsAlthough rare, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to estradiol patches, including rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Immediate medical attention is necessary if any signs of an allergic reaction occur.

Updated on February 6, 2024

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Request an article
If you would like some knowledge added to our knowledge base, send your suggestions here.
Request Knowledge