g. "In Utero" Effects on the Fetus. In the 1950s and 1960s, females who were
habitual aborters were given an estrogen product called diethylstilbestrol (DES). This
drug was given in order for the habitual aborters to have children. The children they
gave birth to have been found to have been affected by this drug. Some female
offspring have been found to have an increased incidence of vaginal cancer. Some
male offspring have decreased semen volume, sperm density, and mobility and
h. Increased Dietary Requirements for Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid.
Estrogens interfere with the absorption of these substances from the gastrointestinal
tract. Hence, the patient may have to increase intake of these substances in order to
absorb body requirements.
USES OF PROGESTINS
Progestins are used as listed and discussed below:
a. Oral Contraceptive. Progestins are used either alone or in combination with
estrogens as oral contraceptives.
b. Cancer Treatment. Some progestins (for example, megestrol acetate) can
be used in the treatment of certain types of cancer. Specifically, these agents are used
in the treatment of breast cancer and cancer of the endometrium. The mechanism by
which these products produce this anticancer effect is unknown. In the treatment of
these cancers, the progestins are used in conjunction with other agents.
c. Progestinic Supplement. Progestins are prescribed in instances in which
insufficient amounts of progestins are produced by the body.
SIDE EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH PROGESTIN THERAPY
Progestins may be estrogenic or androgenic in terms of the effects they produce.
The various actions of progestins seem to be responsible for the side effects observed
with their use. Immediately below are some of the side effects associated with
a. Changes in vaginal bleeding patterns (breakthrough bleeding or complete
lack of bleeding can occur with these agents).
b. Severe or sudden headaches may occur with these agents.
c. Sudden loss of coordination.
d. Changes in appetite.
e. Changes in weight (can be caused by edema).