Zoladex is a form of hormone therapy used to treat cancer and other conditions in both women and men. The drug is primarily used to simulate a hormone that regulates the body’s processes, and many women are given Zoladex to treat breast cancer or endometriosis.
Zoladex contains goserelin, its primary active ingredient, which overstimulates the production of hormones in the body, temporarily halting the production of certain hormones, such as estrogen.
The injection is inserted through a needle into the upper stomach every 28 days by a doctor, and because of the imbalance of hormone levels attempting to adjust to the drug, there may be an onset of new or worsening symptoms in the beginning. Since Zoladex causes a decrease in hormone levels, the use of the drug can affect a women’s menstrual cycle.
How does Zoladex affect your menstrual cycle?
In premenopausal women, Zoladex should halt your period for the duration of the treatment. Despite this, you should still use a birth control barrier method, such as condoms, since hormonal contraceptives may become ineffective during treatment and allow you to still become pregnant. Goserelin should stop the ovulation cycle from happening, but this should not be used as a definite form of birth control. Goserelin can be used to treat endometriosis, which causes painful, heavy and irregular menstruation periods, as well as treating abnormal bleeding of the uterus.
After the goserelin treatment is stopped, the regular menstrual cycle should begin again within 12 weeks after the last injection is received. For women who are close to menopause, Zoladex may continue to affect the menstrual cycle afterwards and may activate menopause by stopping menstruation. If your regular period does not return after this time, you should consult with your doctor. If your period continues to persist regularly while using Zoladex, you should also inform your doctor.
How does it work?
Zoladex is a leutinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist, which serves to halt the production of leutinizing hormones in the pituitary gland. The ovaries typically produce estrogen in premenopausal women, which can cause some breast cancer cell growth. Goserelin helps to stop the production of estrogen from the ovaries to help reduce cancer cell growth. The lack of produced estrogen in women hinders cell growth in estrogen-dependent cancer cells.
After women are given their first injection, their estrogen levels will rise and then finally decrease to a level similar to post-menopausal women, which results in a disruption of the regular menstrual cycle. Once the treatment ends, the ovaries will simply start to produce estrogen again and menstruation will return to normal after a period of time. Zoladex can also be used to treat prostate cancer in men.
What are some of the side effects of Zoladex?
Goserelin will actually cause your hormone levels to increase in the beginning of the treatment before they eventually decrease, causing a number of symptoms that result from the body’s normal response to the drug. Side effects can include hot flashes, dizziness, headaches, sweating, difficulty sleeping, decreased sexual interest, nausea, hair loss, and mood changes. Women may also experience vaginal dryness. These symptoms are only temporary, and should lessen once the body adjusts to the drug.
Women who are pregnant should not be treated with Zoladex. The drug can cause serious birth defects and harm the unborn baby, and should only be considered for use during pregnancy if being used to treat breast cancer.
The use of Zoladex can have many benefits for women, and can effectively help treat serious conditions, such as breast cancer and endometriosis, by reducing the growth of cancer cells in the body. While using Zoladex, women should pay close attention to their side effects to make sure they don’t persist throughout the duration of treatment. Since Zoladex affects the menstrual cycle and can continue to affect it afterwards, it is important to make sure your periods return to a regular, healthy cycle after the treatment is stopped.