It can depend on what type of HRT you’re using, but the major side effects of taking oestrogen include feeling sick, headaches, vaginal bleeding, feeling bloated, tenderness or swelling in the breasts, swelling elsewhere in the body, indigestion and cramps in the legs.
These side effects tend to disappear after a couple of weeks, but there are a few things that you can try to help manage them. Taking your oestrogen dose with food can help to ease sickness and indigestion. Following a low-fat diet with limited dairy can reduce breast pain, whilst regular exercise and stretches can help with leg cramps.
If you find that these side effects continue, let our clinician know. They may advise you to switch to a different HRT method (so switching from a tablet to a patch, for instance) or they can talk to you about adjusting your dose.
Like oestrogen, progesterone in HRT can also trigger side effects. The main ones are mood changes, acne, abdominal pain, headaches or migraines, breast pain, swelling in other parts of the body, depression, back pain and vaginal bleeding.
Similarly to the side effects from taking oestrogen, these symptoms should resolve by themselves after a few weeks. But if they persist, drop our clinician a message, and they can recommend any adjustments or changes.
If you experience any of the following side effects, you should seek urgent medical attention immediately: yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), a significant rise in your blood pressure (headache, tiredness and dizziness are symptoms), migraine-like headaches that develop for the first time, if you fall pregnant, and if you get any indications of a blood clot (painful swelling and redness of the legs, sudden pain in the chest and breathing difficulties).
For more information on side effects and when to get medical assistance, you should read the package leaflet that comes with your HRT treatment, or get in touch with us.