We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator?

Daniel Liden
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A selective estrogen receptor modulator, also known as a SERM, is a compound that acts on hormone receptors that are activated by 17β-estradiol, more commonly referred to as estrogen. Selective estrogen receptor modulators are active in many different tissues throughout the body, allowing them to moderate the effects of estrogen on a large scale. In some cases, a selective estrogen receptor modulator may act as an agonist, a compound that triggers some biological response by binding to a receptor. In other cases, a selective estrogen receptor modulator acts as an antagonist, a molecule that suppresses a response by binding to a receptor. Selective estrogen receptor molecules can act as either agonists or antagonists depending on the particular kind of tissue in which they are found.

Estrogens are very important compounds that function most notably as female sex hormones. They function in diverse roles, ranging from the maintenance of mental health to the balance of water, sodium, and other substances in the body. Though it is necessary for the maintenance of health, estrogen imbalances can also lead to health problems, such as breast cancer and osteoporosis. Many forms of breast cancer rely on a steady supply of estrogen to grow and to spread, and osteoporosis is generally caused by estrogen deficiency. It is not uncommon to treat both of these conditions through the use of a selective estrogen receptor modulator.

Tamoxifen, for example, is a selective estrogen receptor modulator that functions as an antagonist of the estrogen receptors in breast tissue. Treatment with tamoxifen, then, can greatly slow the progression of estrogen receptor-positive forms of breast cancer, which grow quickly with a supply of estrogen. It does so by blocking the receptor sites in breast tissue that would normally be activated by estrogen. Tamoxifen also has a beneficial side-effect: it acts as an agonist in bone tissue. It can be used to fight osteoporosis because its agonistic qualities promote an increase in bone density.

Using a selective estrogen receptor modulator in treatment can lead to some negative effects because they can act as agonists or as antagonists in different parts of the body. While a certain selective estrogen receptor modulator may prevent one kind of cancer, it may in turn promote another. They may also have a destabilizing effect on one's mental health because they affect the amount of estrogen present throughout the body, and estrogen is very important in the maintenance of mental health.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Daniel Liden
By Daniel Liden , Former Writer
Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to his work. With a diverse academic background, he crafts compelling content on complex subjects, showcasing his ability to effectively communicate intricate ideas. He is skilled at understanding and connecting with target audiences, making him a valuable contributor.

Discussion Comments

Daniel Liden

Daniel Liden

Former Writer

Daniel Liden, a talented writer with a passion for cutting-edge topics and data analysis, brings a unique perspective to...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.