The Independent Pharmacy

Elleste Solo Side Effects: Everything You Need To Know

Scott McDougall
Scott McDougallMPharmDirector & Registered Manager

Reviewed on 17 May 2024

All women go through the menopause at some point in their lives. However, that doesn’t make it any easier. The change in hormone levels around this time can cause severe physical and psychological effects such as hot flushes, low libido, depression, irritability, and extreme mood swings — all of which can have a big impact on the quality of life and overall health of the sufferer.

Thankfully, there are HRT (hormone replacement therapy) treatments such as Elleste Solo which can prevent and alleviate upsetting menopausal symptoms. But are there any Elleste Solo side effects you need to know about?

Side effects from Elleste Solo are unusual — and usually mild — but it’s always worth learning more about what you can expect if you decide to take this HRT. In this article, we’ll be looking at the side effects of Elleste Solo (both 1mg and 2mg doses), including the suggested link between Elleste Solo and weight gain. Read on to find out more (you can jump straight to the side effects here):

Elleste Solo Tablets (1mg & 2mg)
Elleste Solo Tablets (1mg & 2mg)
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What is Elleste Solo?

Elleste Solo is a form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRTs are used to treat symptoms of menopause by supplementing the hormones that the body naturally makes.

During menopause, the production of oestrogen in a woman’s ovaries decreases and gradually stops. This change in hormone levels stops the menstrual cycle, but also leads to a number of unwanted and often upsetting symptoms such as hot flushes, depression, low libido, mood swings, sleep problems, and osteoporosis.

If these symptoms are severe, Elleste Solo can be prescribed to alleviate them. Elleste Solo only contains one active ingredient, estradiol, which is identical to the female hormone oestrogen. This is as opposed to Elleste Duet which is a combined form of HRT (which means it contains two ‘hormones’ as the active ingredients).

As Elleste Solo only contains oestrogen, it is usually only used by women who have had a hysterectomy (in this case, oestrogen is the only hormone that needs to be supplemented).

If you have not had a hysterectomy, you will be prescribed a progestogen medicine alongside Elleste Solo. This is because when oestrogen levels are increased alone, the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) will grow excessively, which can substantially increase your risk of complications such as endometrial cancer. Progestogen counteracts this growth and reduces your risk of complications. If you haven’t had a hysterectomy, you may be prescribed a combined HRT instead.

Elleste Solo comes in tablet form in either 1mg or 2mg doses, both are available to buy from The Independent Pharmacy. You will most likely start this HRT on the 1mg dose, and potentially increase to 2mg depending on how effective the lower dose is at treating your symptoms.

Summary list of Elleste Solo side effects

Not everyone will experience side effects when they take Elleste Solo. Everybody is different, which means we can all have different reactions to the same medication. Some users will not experience any negative Elleste Solo side effects at all and will have an overwhelmingly positive experience using this treatment.

However, as with any medication, there is always a chance that side effects may occur, whether they are mild or more serious. It’s a good idea to be aware of these possible side effects just in case.

Below is a summary list of the known Elleste Solo side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Migraines
  • Breast tenderness or pain
  • Change in libido
  • Fluid retention
  • Breakthrough bleeding or spotting (bleeding when not on your period)
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive issues (such as constipation or gas, bloating, indigestion)
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle pain or cramps
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Hair loss
  • Anxiety, depression or other changes in mood
  • Dizziness
  • Skin irritation like rashes and itching
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Vaginal yeast infection (thrush)
  • Acne
  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Difficulty or discomfort wearing contact lenses (due to steepening of corneal curvature)
  • Darkening or brown patches of skin, usually on the face (chloasma)
  • Unwanted hair growth
  • Disturbance in liver function and jaundice
  • Gallbladder disease or gallstones
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Blood clots in the blood vessels (which may lead to DVT, pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attacks)
  • Worsening of fits (epilepsy)
  • Painful/lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast disease)
  • Increase in the size of uterine fibroids
  • Increased risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer

As you can see, the possible side effects of Elleste Solo can range from very mild symptoms to those that are much more serious.

It’s worth noting that the more severe Elleste Solo side effects are extremely rare, and the majority of people that take this HRT will not experience serious or dangerous side effects at all.

If you are concerned about any of the above effects, or you are experiencing a possible side effect that is not listed, you should consult your doctor for further guidance.

To read customer reviews of Elleste Solo from real users, visit our Elleste Solo reviews page.

More common side effects and symptoms

Many of the Elleste Solo side effects we’ve listed above will not be experienced by most users.

However, there are some more common side effects of Elleste Solo tablets that are more likely to occur.

The most common Elleste Solo side effects that you may experience (affecting between 1 in 10 to 1 in 100 users) include nausea, headaches, breast tenderness or pain, changes in libido, stomach pain or cramps, fluid retention (bloating), weight changes, mood changes, rashes and itching, and breakthrough bleeding.

These more common side effects usually do not need medical attention unless they are severe — they are generally a result of your body getting used to the changing levels of hormones it is experiencing. Most side effects will go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the HRT.

If any of these side effects feel severe, painful, or continue after a few months of using Elleste Solo, you should speak to your doctor about your concerns.

Serious side effects and symptoms

The more serious side effects of Elleste Solo tend to be uncommon, affecting between 1 in 100 and 1 in 10,000 people. These include:

  • Disturbance in liver function and jaundice (in which you would see yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
  • Increased blood pressure (symptoms can include headaches, tiredness, and dizziness)
  • Blood clots in the blood vessels may lead to DVT, pulmonary embolism, stroke, or heart attacks (signs are painful swelling and redness of the legs)
  • Gallbladder disease or gallstones
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Worsening of fits (epilepsy)
  • Painful/lumpy breasts (fibrocystic breast disease)
  • Increase in the size of uterine fibroids
  • Increased risk of ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer

If you notice any signs or symptoms of the above, seek medical attention immediately. Similarly, if you experience sudden chest pain or difficulty breathing, seek help.

It is important to review any HRT medication with your GP and have regular gynaecological check-ups at least once a year.

How long does Elleste Solo take to work?

Like most HRTs, Elleste Solo should provide relief from menopausal symptoms within a few weeks of daily use.

However, bear in mind that different people have different reactions to the same medication, so a significant improvement in menopausal symptoms is not always guaranteed (though it is the cause for the majority of users). It may take up to three months to feel the full effects of an HRT like Elleste Solo. Generally, though, results are much quicker than this.

If you don’t think that Elleste Solo is improving your symptoms, then you should consult your doctor or pharmacist. Doctors will usually recommend sticking to a particular HRT for three months or more to see if it works for you. If your HRT doesn’t seem to be working for you during this time or is making your symptoms worse, then speak to your doctor about an alternative medication.

What happens when you stop taking Elleste Solo?

Most people stop taking hormone replacement therapy medication once symptoms of menopause pass, which is generally after a few years (women will, on average, experience symptoms for about four years).

You can choose to stop taking Elleste Solo suddenly or gradually — it’s up to you.

However, stopping a course of Elleste Solo suddenly may result in side effects or the reappearance of menopausal symptoms as your body reacts to this sudden hormone change again.

It’s important to discuss with your GP the best way to come off your HRT medication — they will advise you depending on the strength of your dosage, the length you’ve been taking it and the severity of your menopausal symptoms. Gradually decreasing your dose is usually recommended by doctors as your menopausal symptoms are less likely to come back in the short term.

If you experience recurring or severe symptoms for several months after you have finished your course of Elleste Solo, then you should consult your doctor.

Does Elleste Solo cause weight gain?

Although one of the listed side effects of Elleste Solo is weight change (either loss or gain), it has not been established clinically whether changes in weight are down to the use of HRT or due to factors such as the menopause itself and ageing.

Weight gain tends to happen as we age anyway, due to the loss of muscle mass, reduced activity, and slowing metabolism.

The decreasing oestrogen levels during menopause and leading up to menopause also impact weight; lower oestrogen levels have been linked to reduced activity levels, increased eating and a lower metabolic rate.

Some evidence suggests that HRTs like Elleste Solo may increase a woman's metabolic rate, which could help to slow weight gain.

At the moment, there is no definitive answer when it comes to Elleste Solo and weight gain (or Elleste Solo weight loss, for that matter). It can completely depend on an individual’s response to the HRT, as well as how their body changes during menopause.

If you feel that Elleste Solo weight gain is a problem that affects you, then speak to your doctor about your concerns. They may suggest changing to another HRT.

Does Elleste Solo cause bloating?

Elleste Solo bloating is one of the more common side effects experienced by users, as with other HRTs.

This is because of the changing hormone levels in the body — oestrogen affects the way that your body regulates fluid and can result in water retention (when the tissue in your body accumulates more water) and bloating.

Fluctuations in hormone levels also affect your digestive system and can increase intestinal gas, resulting in further bloating.

Does Elleste Solo cause bleeding?

If you have not had a hysterectomy and you are also taking an additional progesterone-based medication alongside Elleste Solo, you will probably have a monthly bleed.

You may also notice breakthrough bleeding or spotting (irregular bleeding occurs between menstrual periods) as your body adjusts to Elleste Solo.

Elleste Solo bleeding is not normally anything to worry about, but if bleeding continues after the first few months of using Elleste Solo (or once you have stopped treatment), you should talk to your GP.

Does Elleste Solo cause hair loss?

Elleste Solo hair loss is extremely unusual but may affect some users. A very small number of women have reported that HRT has worsened their hair loss.

However, generally, the oestrogen found in HRTs like Elleste Solo is thought to slow down or even halt hair loss. Oestrogen levels are linked to hair growth and health; high levels of oestrogen promote healthy, thick hair growth. And as we get older, the drop in oestrogen levels causes thinning and hair loss.

Hormone replacement therapies that increase the oestrogen levels in the body can decrease or slow hair loss, as well as alleviating menopausal symptoms.


Elleste Solo is a hormone replacement therapy (HRT) used to treat menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, libido changes, depression, and mood swings.

It is usually only prescribed to women who have had a hysterectomy because of the potential increased risks of endometrial cancer. Women who have a womb will generally be prescribed a combined-form HRT to reduce this risk or prescribed an additional treatment alongside Elleste Solo to cancel out any increased risk.

Elleste Solo has some known side effects, but when used as directed by your doctor, these are usually mild and not hazardous to your health. These side effects will generally subside within the first few weeks of taking the HRT.

If you are concerned about Elleste Solo side effects — whether they are any of the ones that we’ve mentioned above or ones that we haven’t listed — you should consult your GP or pharmacist for advice on how to proceed.

If you think Elleste Solo could be the right menopause treatment for you, you can buy Elleste Solo at The Independent Pharmacy. You just need to complete a free, online consultation and one of our qualified prescribers can issue your treatment for next-day delivery.


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