Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available



  • Pill
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness and inflammation
  • Low estrogen
  • Primary ovarian failure
  • Prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Metastatic breast cancer
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Treats low estrogen, relieves menopause symptoms, and lowers your risk of osteoporosis.

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Prescription onlyLower-cost generic available

Our bottom line

Estrace (Estradiol) relieves menopausal symptoms and prevents bone loss. It's an oral hormone replacement, so it can have a lot of side effects, and it's important to think through the benefits and potential hassles of this drug before using it.


  • Estrace (Estradiol) replenishes estrogen to your whole body and relieves multiple symptoms due to low estrogen, like hot flashes and vaginal dryness.
  • Lowers your risk of fractures by keeping your bones healthy. Make sure you also get enough calcium and Vitamin D.
  • Improves mood, energy, and mental alertness for some people.
  • Doesn't expose your partner to estrogen during sexual acitivities like the vaginal estrogen creams.
  • Can help relieve symptoms of advanced prostate or breast cancer in some people.


  • More potential side effects than estrogen creams since it exposes your whole body to estrogen.
  • Increases your risk of uterine and breast cancer.
  • If you have your uterus, you have to take Estrace (Estradiol) with another hormone called progestin to lower your risk of uterine cancer.
  • Increases your risk of developing blood clots and stroke.
  • Can't be used in people with liver problems.
  • Can be expensive since it's only available as a brand name product.

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What to expect when you take Estrace (Estradiol)

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • Take Estrace (Estradiol) exactly the way your doctor tells you since the dose and dosing cycle may be different depending on what you're being treated for.
  • Shouldn't be used forever. Talk to your doctor regularly to see if you still need treatment. If you’re taking Estrace (Estradiol) only for vaginal symptoms or to prevent bone loss, there are other medicines that can work better with fewer side effects (like a vaginal cream for menopause or non-estrogen medicine for bone loss).
  • Can cause nausea, dizziness, bloating and breast tenderness.
  • Tell your doctor about any unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • Get emergency care if you notice unexplained swelling and pain in your limbs, shortness of breath, chest pain, severe headache, or changes in vision.
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Side effects for Estrace (Estradiol)

Manufacturers don’t say how common these side effects are

  • Abdominal cramps, bloating
  • Abnormal jerking movements
  • Aggravation of porphyria
  • Anaphylactoid/anaphylactic reactions
  • Arthralgias; leg cramps
  • Change in amount of cervical secretion
  • Changes in cervical ectropion
  • Changes in libido
  • Changes in vaginal bleeding pattern and abnormal withdrawal bleeding or flow; breakthrough bleeding, spotting, dysmenorrhea
  • Chloasma or melasma that may persist when drug is discontinued
  • Cholestatic jaundice
  • Deep and superficial venous thrombosis; pulmonary embolism; thrombophlebitis; myocardial infarction; stroke; increase in blood pressure
  • Deep skin swelling
  • Dementia
  • Enlargement of hepatic hemangiomas
  • Erythema multiforme
  • Exacerbation of asthma
  • Exacerbation of epilepsy
  • Excessive hair growth
  • Headache, migraine, dizziness
  • Hemorrhagic eruption
  • Hives
  • Increase in size of uterine leiomyomata
  • Increase or decrease in weight
  • Increased incidence of gallbladder disease
  • Increased triglycerides
  • Intolerance to contact lenses
  • Loss of scalp hair
  • Low blood calcium
  • Mental depression
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Nervousness, mood disturbances, irritability
  • Ovarian cancer; endometrial hyperplasia; endometrial cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pruritus, rash
  • Reduced carbohydrate tolerance
  • Retinal vascular thrombosis
  • Steepening of corneal curvature
  • Swelling due to excess fluid
  • Tender red bumps under skin
  • Tenderness, enlargement, pain, nipple discharge, galactorrhea; fibrocystic breast changes; breast cancer
  • Vaginitis, including vaginal candidiasis

Risks and Warnings for Estrace (Estradiol)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Using estrogen for more than one year

    Vaginal bleeding after menopause can be a warning sign of uterus (endometrial) cancer, so let your doctor know if you notice any unusual bleeding. When estrogen is prescribed to women after menopause who still have a uterus, progestin should be used with it to lower the risk of cancer. Low-dose vaginal estrogen products are often a better choice than oral pills for women 65 years or older who have vaginal symptoms.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Estrace (Estradiol)

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The FDA category for this medication is X. It is advised that you: Unsafe
  • Upsides and downsides from our pharmacists
  • Doesn't expose your partner to estrogen during sexual acitivities like the vaginal estrogen creams.