d. Treatment of Postpartum Breast Engorgement and Bleeding. Within 24
to 48 hours after delivery, the mother's breasts will become swollen and tender. If the
mother intends to breast feed the infant, the nursing staff will provide care to help
alleviate the pain. After a while, the pain will subside. If the mother does not wish to
breast feed the infant, estrogen can be administered. A large dose of estrogen will feed
back to the pituitary gland through the hypothalamus. Prolactin release will be inhibited
and the breast engorgement will not occur. You should know that the use of estrogen to
treat postpartum breast engorgement is not recommended because of the risk of clot
formation. Such administration of estrogen is soon after delivery. Estrogen can also be
given to decrease uterine bleeding, since estrogen stimulates the repair of the uterus
and vagina (increases the lining of these structures).
e. Treatment of Acne. At one time physicians frequently prescribed estrogens
in the treatment of severe acne. The estrogens caused the sebaceous secretions to be
more fluid. Hence, the pores did not tend to clog so easily. You should know that this
treatment is not as popular as it once was. Today other products are sometimes given
in conjunction with antibiotics (for example, tetracyclines) in the treatment of acne.
SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH ESTROGEN THERAPY
As you might expect, there are some side effects associated with the use of
estrogens. Some of these side effects are listed and discussed below:
a. Bleeding. Women on estrogen therapy sometimes experience vaginal
bleeding. Such bleeding can be prolonged. When bleeding occurs with estrogen
therapy, the patient should contact the physician.
b. Headaches. Headaches associated with estrogen therapy may be sudden in
onset and/or severe in nature.
c. Edema and Breast Tenderness. The breast may enlarge because of fluid
buildup, which cause the breasts to be very tender.
d. Nausea and Vomiting.
e. Thrombo Embolic Disease. Administration of estrogen can cause an
increase in the likelihood of clot formation.
f. Increased Incidence of Cancer. There appears to be a higher incidence
(five to 15 times) of endometrial cancer in postmenopausal patients that use estrogens,
especially, patients who have taken estrogens for a long period of time (five years or