Does your vaginal feel like the Sahara desert? It doesn’t have to. Really.
Many women have vaginal dryness in menopause, in fact in the first year after stopping your period, 2/3 of women report vaginal dryness and pain with sex. In addition to dryness and pain with sex, women experience urinary frequency, urinary urgency and discomfort. Lubricants can help, but they don’t help improve the elasticity of the vagina. When the vagina lacks estrogen, instead of stretching, it tears. Women typically feel this as a burning or stinging after sex.
Many women are concerned to use any type of hormones. In fact, the package insert from bio-identical estradiol vaginal cream is the exact same as for systemic estrogen therapy. That is unfortunate, because vaginal estrogen is quite safe. Blood levels of estrogen in users of vaginal estrogen are higher than age matched control patient’s for only the first 2 weeks of use. In fact, vaginal only users of estrogen do not show any elevation in risk of heart attack, cancer, or stroke. Check out the resources page for the reference for more details.
If you are a cancer survivor you have likely been told to avoid all hormones. The American College of OBGYN has a new position statement suggesting that it is reasonable for some cancer survivors to consider using vaginal estrogen. I have included the link to their statement for your review on the resources page.
Vaginal estrogen comes in creams, a silicone ring, and a vaginal tablet. All of them work well. Talk with your health care provider about which formulation sounds the best to you. All of these options take about 1 month to notice a difference. Vaginal estrogen will thicken the vaginal walls, make them more elastic, improve vaginal blood flow and often return the vagina to it’s proper pH. Many women report an improvement in urinary frequency and urgency.
Don’t suffer in the desert. There are several safe options.
If you want to learn more about vaginal health after menopause make a consultation with Hormone Wellness MD today.