Vaginal Estrogen for Menopause and more.
Vaginal estrogen helps reduce the chances of UTIs, helps with dryness, itching and irritation, incontinence & prolapse, and keeps the vaginal PH level optimal.
I have been using vaginal estrogen for about 2 years now. I started with a cream called Bi-Est and switched to a tablet called Vagifem a couple months ago. I began using vaginal estrogen just before my surgery. I wanted to have my tissues in the best shape possible prior to my rectocele repair.
Knowing that I was close to menopause I stayed on it. I reached my menopause in June of this year, so am officially post-menopause now - Woo Hoo - and I plan on staying on vaginal estrogen for the rest of my life.
Vaginal estrogen can help reduce the chances of UTIs, help with dryness, itching and irritation, help with incontinence and prolapse symptoms and keep the PH level in the vagina optimal.
Hormone therapy is getting a lot of press lately as is menopause which is fantastic! It can be confusing to decipher all of the information and know how to navigate the decision to use hormones or not.
My good friend and colleague Shirley Weir - founder of Menopause Chicks - often runs Hormone masterclasses - I highly recommend you join her community on Facebook (even if you are not yet post-menopause) called Menopause Chicks and watch for her amazing education.
Vaginal estrogen, as with systemic estrogen, can be bioidentical or not. Bioidentical hormones are hormones that are chemically the same as those that your body produces. Bioidentical hormones are manufactured and can be regulated by the government or they can be compounded by a compounding pharmacist.
Generally, there are 3 types of vaginal estrogen. It is called 'local vaginal estrogen' because it is used on the external genitalia and internally in the vaginal and the effects stay local to the vagina and do not get absorbed into the bloodstream to act on vasomotor symptoms. Local vaginal estrogen comes in creams, rings, or tablets.
For creams the most common brand names are Premarin and Estrace. Estrace is bioidentical while premarin is not. Your health care provider can help you determine the dose that is right for you and your symptoms.
For rings, they are inserted into the vagina and stay in for 3 months. The most common brand names are Femring and Estring. Estring is bioidentical and the treatment stays local. Femring is bioidentical but even though it is inserted into the vagina it is absorbed into the bloodstream so can be used to treat hot flashes as well as vaginal dryness.
For tablets, the most common brand names are Imvexxy and Vagifem. Imvexxy is bioidentical and is offered in 2 strengths - 4mcg and 10mcg. Vagifem is bioidential and comes in a pre-loaded applicator. Users typically start with a tablet every day for 2 weeks and then moving to twice weekly, however your care provider will help you determine the dose and schedule that is right for you.
Vaginal estrogen is available over the counter in the UK, and I sincerely hope that this is adopted worldwide. For now, if you are elsewhere in the world, you will need to have your medical doctor or naturopath prescribe vaginal estrogen for you. If the doses of the regulated bioidentical hormones are not what you need, your doctor can create a prescription that a compounding pharmacist would compound.
Kim Vopni, The Vagina Coach