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Menopause and Vaginal Dryness
By Dr. Amy Imro

Vaginal dryness is one of the most common issues that plague peri-menopausal and post menopausal women. It often presents as discomfort during intercourse and burning with urination. Some women have such severe symptoms that it causes relationship issues. The good news is, safe treatments are available. The gold standard for therapy is vaginal estrogen. Estrogen creams are applied nightly, for a period of time, then once or twice a week thereafter. For women who do not like the creams, other delivery systems are available as well, including vaginal rings and vaginal tablets. There is very little absorption into the bloodstream, so people who have concerns about using estrogen can often use it safely. Also, unlike with oral and other transdermal estrogen therapy, you do not need to take additional progesterone to protect the uterus. Of course, you should discuss therapy with your physician before initiating any treatments. For women who prefer to avoid hormonal treatments, there are many over the counter remedies that have also been found to be very effective. Many commercial vaginal moisturizers are available. Pharmacies only carry a few brands, but an online search will yield a much greater selection. Some women have found that olive oil, vitamin E, and DHEAS suppositories have significantly helped their symptoms. The bottom line is, vaginal dryness is a treatable condition. You just need to work with your health care provider to find the right solution for you.

Dr. Amy Imro, Women's Midlife Health Center at Magee, can be reached at (412) 641-8889.

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