Barbara, I am so confused. My provider wants me to use vaginal estrogen cream for the dryness I have been experiencing. But then my girlfriends tell me how bad it is to use estrogen. Can you help me understand all of this? This is a common question from those of you who call me.
The Facts: Bio-identical vaginal estrogens have a low risk profile and are safe for most women to use. Local estrogen means that the estrogen is being applied directly to the vagina. It works by rebuilding the lining of the vagina and the urethra and helping to maintain muscle tone of the vagina and the urethra. Only a very small amount is absorbed systemically, or into the blood stream, so you don’t have to worry.
When your estrogen goes really low, vaginal tissue suffers. When healthy, it is pink, moist, and elastic. With vaginal atrophy, tissue looks gray, dry and thin. The most prevalent symptoms are vaginal dryness, vaginal irritation and itching. You may also begin to get frequent UTIs or burning with urination. I had one woman tell me, “It feels like the Sahara Desert down there”
Vaginal administration of bio-identical estrogen provides enough estrogen to relieve symptoms and reverse those atrophic changes.
So, if your doctor gave you a product that contains estradiol or estriol, that is bio-identical and you do not need to be afraid to use it.
Women often see dramatic improvement in vaginal dryness and urinary symptoms within weeks.
Vaginal estrogen is NOT associated with clinically significant increases in blood estrogen levels or any abnormal growth of the uterine lining. And no increased risk of breast cancer in women with no prior history of breast cancer.
If you have a history of breast cancer and non-hormonal options aren’t working for you, you should discuss this options with your doctor or oncologist. Many will absolutely let you use vaginal estrogen.
So, if you have a prescription for estradiol or estriol vaginal suppositories or crème, do not be afraid.
If you want more information on vaginal dryness & what you can do OR on a good product that contains estriol, email me! email@example.com