The common side effects of estradiol/norgestimate tablets (also known as Prefest) include headaches, intestinal upset (cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting), hair loss, breast sensitivity, and mildly irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting. Some people have skin problems (acne, dark or light colored areas or mild itching), vaginal irritation (dryness, itching, discharge, yeast infections) or trouble wearing contact lenses. Some people also retain fluid, causing swollen hands and feet and a bloated feeling, or experience weight changes or become less interested in sex. Talk to your doctor if these side effects become bothersome or persistent.
In rare cases, a person might experience mood alterations such as depression, anxiety, irritability or sleep changes. Especially in people over 70 years of age, these mental changes might also be warning signs of dementia, a serious potential side effect.
Cardiovascular events such as blood clot, heart attack or stroke are also serious potential side effects. If a heart attack occurs, you might feel pains in your chest or down your arm, together with nausea or sweating. If you have a stroke, you might all of a sudden feel numb on one side of your body. If you have a blood clot, you might have pain or severe swelling in your legs. In any serious cardiovascular event, you could feel dizzy or faint, confused, or have breathing problems, a severe headache, trouble seeing or difficulty trying to talk. Dizziness, swelling, and trouble breathing together with skin rash or itching are also symptoms of a bad allergic reaction.
Another serious potential side effect is cancer, either in the breast or uterus, or growth of existing benign tumors. These effects might manifest as a lump in the breast or leaking nipples, a stomach that is swollen and painful or tender to touch, or extended or heavy vaginal bleeding. Yellow skin and eyeballs could indicate a liver or gallbladder problem. Get immediate medical help if you experience any serious side effects.