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Estrogen cypionate injections – common side effects

Estrogen cypionate injections, like other forms of estrogen, are used in hormone replacement therapy for transgender women (assigned male at birth) as part of gender-affirming care to feminise secondary sexual characteristics. Here are potential unwanted/adverse/side effects of estrogen cypionate injections in the context of gender-affirming care:

Side EffectDescription
Breast tenderness and enlargementEstrogen therapy stimulates breast tissue development, leading to breast tenderness and enlargement.
Fat redistributionEstrogen therapy may lead to changes in fat distribution, resulting in a more feminine body shape with increased fat deposition in the hips, thighs, and buttocks.
Reduction in muscle massEstrogen therapy may lead to a decrease in muscle mass and strength.
Decreased libidoSome individuals may experience a decrease in libido (sex drive) as a side effect of estrogen therapy.
Erectile dysfunctionEstrogen therapy may cause erectile dysfunction in transgender women.
Mood changesEstrogen therapy may lead to mood changes, including mood swings, irritability, or changes in emotional well-being.
Hot flashesSome individuals may experience hot flashes as a side effect of estrogen therapy.
Weight gainEstrogen therapy may lead to weight gain, particularly due to changes in fat distribution.
Decreased fertilityEstrogen therapy may decrease sperm production and fertility in transgender women.
Increased risk of blood clotsEstrogen therapy may increase the risk of blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Increased risk of breast cancerLong-term estrogen therapy may increase the risk of breast cancer, although the absolute risk is relatively low.
Increased risk of cardiovascular diseaseEstrogen therapy may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, particularly in individuals with pre-existing risk factors such as smoking, obesity, or hypertension.
Gastrointestinal symptomsSome individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or bloating as a side effect of estrogen therapy.
Changes in cholesterol levelsEstrogen therapy may affect cholesterol levels, leading to decreases in LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and increases in HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol).
Updated on February 6, 2024

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