Menopause brings about a host of changes in a woman’s body. While most people are aware of the most common menopausal complaints of hot flashes and night sweats, many fail to know a woman’s genital organs can also be affected.
Vaginal dryness, painful sandpaper sex, vaginal burning, genital itching, longer time to orgasm, frequent urination, urgency with urination, and frequent urinary tract infections are all common complaints due to a lack of estrogen in the genital tissues of perimenopausal and post menopausal women. The North American Menopause Society has named this group of symptoms, Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM).
Your menopause journey is unique. You may suffer from none, a few or all of the symptoms of GSM. That’s because your bladder, urethra, vagina, vulva (the lips around the vaginal opening) and genital organs all have hormone receptors for estrogen. While many women don’t talk about their symptoms, up to 84% of women suffer from them!
Here are the top 5 reasons vaginal estrogen treatment may be right for you in menopause:
- Your vagina/vulva feels dry, sore or itchy.
- Intercourse is painful despite using a lubricant.
- You experience bleeding after intercourse that has been medically evaluated and determined to be caused by a lack of estrogen in the vaginal tissues.
- You suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI).
- You suffer from urge incontinence (a strong sudden need to urinate that is difficult to delay).
Bioidentical vaginal estradiol is a life changing medication for many perimenopausal/postmenopausal women. The estrogen is placed directly into the vagina or rubbed onto the vulva for local absorption. Studies have shown only a tiny amount is absorbed into the bloodstream. Vaginal estradiol treatment is considered very safe and can be used long term without negative side effects according to the North American Menopause Society.
Prescription bioidentical vaginal estradiol products come in the forms of a vaginal tablet, ring, insert and cream. Cost varies between products and your personal prescription coverage on your health insurance plan. If using a cash pay coupon service, generic bioidentical estradiol vaginal cream is usually most cost effective. In our experience at MyMenopauseRx, using a cash coupon is often significantly cheaper than using your prescription coverage.
If you are suffering from genitourinary syndrome of menopause, talk to your healthcare provider if vaginal estrogen is right for you. If your healthcare provider is not comfortable or familiar with treatment, get a second opinion from a menopause expert. Life is too precious to suffer from an angry vagina and bladder.