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Because the benefits of human growth hormone therapy often sound so appealing, it is essential to also examine the potential side effects before determining if HGH treatment is the right decision. The risk of side effects of HGH therapy in women is slight when diagnosed with adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD). Doctor supervision is crucial, even more so for older, obese women. In this review, we look at the causes and signs of rare and common side effects, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about HGH therapy.
HGH treatment is a well-tolerated and safe form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Women who are older and heavier are more susceptible to experiencing possible adverse reactions, especially if they are insulin-resistant. They may notice a worsening of their insulin resistance during the first few months of HGH therapy. However, the long-term lipolytic actions of growth hormone typically resolve that situation. Please let the doctor know about any insulin resistance or diabetes before starting HGH therapy because additional, more frequent monitoring of blood sugar levels is required.
Dangerous side effects of HGH therapy in women are rare, especially when undergoing regular monitoring by a hormone specialist.
Rare Side Effects of HGH Therapy in Women: Causes and Signs
Another area of rare HGH side effects in women is changes in thyroid function. Previously undiagnosed conditions such as secondary adrenal insufficiency or subclinical central hypothyroidism are sometimes unmasked during HGH treatment. Monitoring of cortisol and free thyroxine levels are necessary during the early stages of treatment.
While some serious and rare side effects of HGH therapy in women can occur, they are often more commonly associated with higher dosages. Ignoring the side effects listed in the next section can lead to further problems such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Enlarged internal organs
Benign intracranial hypertension and retinopathy are two extremely rare HGH complications. There is no current research showing any connection between prior cancer recurrence and HGH therapy. The most likely cause of any increased cancer risk is when insulin growth factor 1 levels get too high. IGF-1 is the marker hormone specialists use to monitor GH levels.
Common Non-Essential Adverse Effects of HGH for Females
Just as low growth hormone levels can cause problems, so can higher than normal levels. That is why hormone doctors run detailed diagnostic blood tests and require physical examinations to help them determine the appropriate amount of HGH for each woman. The lowest dosage possible to accomplish the goal of balancing growth hormone levels helps to reduce the risk of side effects of HGH therapy in women.
Other than injection site reactions such as irritation and redness, the most commonly reported side effects of human growth hormone therapy include:
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Myalgia (muscle pain)
- Arthralgia (joint pain)
- Paresthesia (burning, tingling in hands or feet)
- Neuralgia (nerve pain)
- Stiff joints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Insulin sensitivity
- High cholesterol
- Nasal congestion
- Back pain
In most instances, these HGH side effects reduce themselves within a few weeks as the body becomes increasingly accustomed to higher growth hormone levels. However, if the reversal does not occur, or the reactions become uncomfortable, the treating doctor may lower the dosage until the issues are resolved. At that time, a slow incremental raising of HGH dosages back to the ideal state may reduce any recurrence.
FAQ About Possible Negative Treatment Consequences in Females
It is rare for females to experience negative treatment consequences when receiving human growth hormone therapy. Anecdotal and other concerns about side effects of HGH therapy in women do exist, and we hope to put some of those to rest in the answers to the questions below:
Can HGH Cause Breast Cancer?
Human growth hormone therapy does not cause breast cancer. The only concern here is if a person has undiagnosed or active breast cancer, then the cell-regenerating effects of HGH could stimulate cancer cell replication. That is also why comprehensive medical screening is necessary before a woman begins treatment for AGHD.
Can HGH Treatment Lead to Skin Cancer?
HGH treatment does not increase the risk of skin cancer. However, for women who do have concerns about skin cancer, they should consider getting a full screening and examination from their dermatologist before starting HGH therapy. In theory, if skin cancer is already present, the increase in cell reproduction could stimulate cancer cell growth.
Can Growth Hormone Cause Acne?
Because adult acne is a possible side effect of increasing testosterone levels, and HGH helps stimulate testosterone production, there is a very slight chance of acne occurring as a result of human growth hormone therapy.
Can it Cause Hair Loss?
Thinning or loss of hair is not generally associated with HGH treatment. Most people experience improved hair growth when balancing their GH levels.
Can HGH Replacement Therapy Cause Depression?
In rare cases, a person may experience changes in mood, including depression, from HGH replacement therapy. However, that is not the norm as a reduction in depression and anxiety and an improvement in overall mood and outlook are typical benefits of HGH treatment.
To learn more about the side effects of HGH therapy in women, please contact our hormone clinic for a free consultation by phone.