Oestradiol (estradiol in the USA) is a female sex hormone that is produced by the ovaries. It may also be used as a medication in the form of a tablet, patch, gel, cream, nose spray, vaginal pessary, vaginal ring, injection or implant to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
The amount of 17-beta oestradiol (the full name of the ovarian hormone) can be measured in a blood sample to test for infertility in a woman. The normal range is :
|Female before ovulation||180 to 1500 pmol/L||(50 to 400 ng/L).|
|Female after ovulation||400 to 800 pmol/L||(120 to 200 ng/L).|
|After menopause||Less than 200 pmol/L||(less than 55 ng/L).|
A low level indicates that a woman is not ovulating, before puberty or after menopause.
As a medication it should not to be used in males, pregnancy, breastfeeding or children, but accidental usage in these situations is unlikely to be harmful.
Use oestradiol with caution in epilepsy, migraine, heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, porphyria or uterine disease, and not at all if suffering from liver disease, breast or genital cancer, blood clots, sickle cell anaemia, undiagnosed bleeding from vagina, severe high blood pressure or endometriosis.
Common side effects may include abnormal uterine bleeding, vaginal thrush, nausea, fluid retention, weight gain, breast tenderness.
Less common effects may be a rash at site of patch application, blurred vision, vomiting, bloating, intestinal cramps, pigmentation of skin on face, nose bleeds with nasal spray use.
Rare but serious side effects may be blood clots, calf or chest pain and yellow skin (jaundice). Smoking increases the risk of serious side effects.
Oestradiol may interact with other sex hormones, antibiotics, diabetes medications (hypoglycaemics), warfarin, epilepsy medications (anticonvulsants), imipramine, corticosteroids, thyroxine and the herbs saw palmetto, alfalfa, dong quai, ginseng, liquorice and red clover.
Do not use oestradiol nose spray at same time as other nose sprays.
It is very useful in managing the effects of menopause, and reduces the risk of osteoporosis after the menopause.