A Closer Look at the Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

A Closer Look at the Side Effects of Hormone Therapy

effects of hormone therapyWhen it comes time for men to fight back against prostate cancer, one of the most used treatments is hormone therapy. Despite being one of the most used treatment methods, it is still a treatment that comes with many side effects. Some of these side effects are considered more dangerous than others, but all have their problems. The main reason why side effects develop to begin with is the therapy brings the count of hormones in the body down. What are some of the side effects to keep your eye on when getting hormone therapy?

Erection Issues

For most men who go through hormone therapy to cure their prostate cancer, impotence is one of the first side effects they will notice and could be the most troubling. For those using Zoladex, Suprefact or Prostap, you will find it nearly impossible to get an erection because these drugs contain luteinizing hormone blockers. These drugs stop the production of testosterone in your body and even after use of the treatment stops, you may not be able to get an erection again. For others, you may be able to get an erection again, but it may take anywhere from three months to a year.

There are hormone treatments that aren’t supposed to affect your sex drive. If you are treated with anti-androgens like Casodex, you should be able to continue to get an erection. With long term treatment with these drugs, you may suffer from erection problems.

Tenderness in Breast

Breast tenderness is something that most men don’t think can happen to them, but with a large amount of hormones entering the body at a quick time for treatment of prostate cancer, it is possible. This is seen more in patients with high doses of Casodex and can become a painful side effect. In about 60 percent of patients who experienced this pain, Tamoxifen worked to reduce this pain.

Sweating and Hot Flashes

When you hear about hot flashes, usually the thought of women with menopause comes to mind, but for men getting treated with drugs that contain LHRH blockers, they can happen to you too. This occurs because of the drop in testosterone and this will usually continue throughout the time you are on the drug. There has been some research done to the point that Venlafaxine, a drug normally used as a treatment for depression, can help limit the hot flashes in men.

There have been other studies, most notably in France, which compared other drugs used to treat hot flashes in men being treated for prostate cancer. These studies followed men for three months and while they appeared to work better than Venlafaxine, the long term effects on the health of the man and the treatment of the cancer was unknown.

When you have hot flashes, you will want to avoid drinking coffee, tea or smoking cigarettes as these are all known to make the hot flashes worse

Memory Problems

For many men who undergo hormone therapy treatment for their prostate cancer, memory problems are something that can occur. Your memory can become an issue for you throughout your treatment, but you can help make this a non-issue by taking better notes of tasks you are supposed to complete and usually have no problem with.

Weight Gain

When you undergo long-term hormone therapy treatment for your prostate cancer, you face a higher likelihood of gaining weight. You should be able to control this by having a strict diet and exercising daily, but for those that have struggled with weight issues in the past, this could become a more serious problem.

Risk of Heart Attack

If you are over the age of 65, there has been some research that has elevated the risk of your chances of having a heart attack with hormone treatment of six months or longer. Other heart problems could develop during your treatment, so consult with your physician immediately if you don’t feel well.

>Learn more about treatments for Erectile Dysfunction

>Learn more about your Prostate Gland


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