Breaking News
July 21, 2018 - Parents say intense gun violence in PG-13 movies appropriate for teens 15 and older
July 21, 2018 - FAU researchers find possible cause of Parkinson’s disease in the patients’ immune system
July 21, 2018 - Protective qualities of ‘good cholesterol’ reduce after menopause
July 21, 2018 - Researchers develop new way to uncover hidden breast cancer tumors
July 21, 2018 - FDA approves first drug for treatment of adult AML patients with specific genetic mutation
July 21, 2018 - Top AI companies join hands to discover novel drugs for DMD
July 21, 2018 - Ferring announces FDA approval of ZOMACTON for injection in four new pediatric indications
July 20, 2018 - Researchers design proteins that can self-assemble into complex structures
July 20, 2018 - AVITA Medical expands management team to support launch of RECELL device to treat burns
July 20, 2018 - FDA Approves Tibsovo (ivosidenib) for Relapsed or Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia with an IDH1 Mutation
July 20, 2018 - Developmental screening and surveillance rates remain low, new study suggests
July 20, 2018 - TGen opens tissue donation portal to advance DIPG research
July 20, 2018 - Health impact of highly processed summertime staples
July 20, 2018 - Exergaming can improve health in overweight and obese children, study shows
July 20, 2018 - Postmenopausal factors may impact heart-protective qualities of ‘good cholesterol’
July 20, 2018 - MRI and blood test combination results in improved prostate cancer diagnosis
July 20, 2018 - Update Health Professional and Consumer on Recent Recalled Products
July 20, 2018 - Researchers trace Parkinson’s damage in the heart
July 20, 2018 - Wearable device designed to measure cortisol in sweat
July 20, 2018 - Scientists demonstrate a new regulation mechanism for skeletal muscles
July 20, 2018 - Exposure to mobile phone radiation may negatively impact memory performance in adolescents
July 20, 2018 - SUSU scientists find alternative method to treat post-traumatic stress disorder syndrome
July 20, 2018 - Gestational diabetes may increase offspring’s heart disease risk
July 20, 2018 - New vaccine could protect unborn babies from Zika virus
July 20, 2018 - Researchers find high mercury and methylmercury concentrations in traditional Tibetan medicine
July 20, 2018 - Brief Safety Plan Intervention in ER Can Cut Suicidal Behavior
July 20, 2018 - Toward a better understanding of Parkinson’s disease
July 20, 2018 - Med school communications office wins four national awards | News Center
July 20, 2018 - Professional baseball players with faster hand-eye coordination may have better batting performance
July 20, 2018 - Study looks into mechanisms that control sleep and wakefulness
July 20, 2018 - Scientists identify melanoma biomarkers that could help tailor immunotherapy treatments
July 20, 2018 - Research reveals long-term efficacy of drug used to treat common cause of kidney failure
July 20, 2018 - Timing of dinner associated with breast and prostate cancer risks
July 20, 2018 - Health Tip: Performing the Heimlich Maneuver
July 20, 2018 - Nearly all adolescents have eating, activity or weight-related issues
July 20, 2018 - Sage launches new web-based tool that helps explore curated genomic analyses of Alzheimer’s
July 20, 2018 - High-performance porous polymeric material for chromatography applications
July 20, 2018 - New molecule shows great promise for future treatment of many cancers
July 20, 2018 - New research project investigates alternative treatments for eye infections
July 20, 2018 - Immune T cells are built to react as fast as possible, shows study
July 20, 2018 - ZHX2 protein could offer a new treatment strategy for kidney cancer
July 20, 2018 - EKF’s Quo-Lab POC HbA1c analyzer meets international quality targets for diabetes testing
July 20, 2018 - Health burdens of very high risk drinking are potentially large, study reveals
July 20, 2018 - Using miniature drug-filled nanocarriers to target headaches and tumors
July 20, 2018 - Researchers uncover cause for progression of prostate cancer to incurable stage
July 20, 2018 - Studies highlight issues regarding black lung, opioid overdose, police violence and more
July 20, 2018 - AbbVie submits supplemental NDA to FDA for venetoclax to treat acute myeloid leukemia
July 20, 2018 - Researchers are one step closer to developing eye drops to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
July 20, 2018 - Patients maintain muscle mass five years after surgically induced weight loss
July 20, 2018 - AMSBIO introduces new, powerful CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing kits
July 20, 2018 - PureTech Health collaborates with Roche to advance oral administration of antisense oligonucleotides
July 20, 2018 - Analysis reveals disparities in cancer death rates among minority groups
July 20, 2018 - Dr Maddy Parsons receives Royal Microscopical Society Life Science Medal
July 20, 2018 - Study finds link between DNA methylation and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
July 20, 2018 - Military personnel with head trauma and football players with suspected CTE show similar brain changes
July 20, 2018 - Vidac Pharma Announces Initiation of Phase 2b Clinical Trial of VDA-1102 Ointment in Patients with Actinic Keratosis
July 20, 2018 - KKR is buying Envision Healthcare in a nearly $10B deal
July 20, 2018 - Older people with broken bones face higher risk of death for up to 10 years
July 20, 2018 - A simple pill for meth addicts on the cards
July 20, 2018 - UA researchers to repurpose ketamine to reduce side effects in Parkinson’s patients
July 20, 2018 - Child psychiatrist available on call to help assess separated immigrant children
July 20, 2018 - High bitter-taste sensitivity linked to increased risk of cancer
July 20, 2018 - Falling temperatures may lead to rise in numbers of deaths from stroke
July 20, 2018 - Supplemental oxygen prevents rise in morning blood pressure in OSA patients
July 20, 2018 - High fruit and vegetable intake linked to reduced risk of breast cancer
July 20, 2018 - Careful patient selection may help achieve good outcomes for vaginal mesh surgery
July 20, 2018 - Researchers raise viability of cloned mice using somatic cell nuclear transfer method
July 20, 2018 - 3HP for Latent TB Infection Treatment | 2018 | Newsroom | NCHHSTP
July 20, 2018 - An orange a day keeps macular degeneration away: 15-year study
July 20, 2018 - Researchers elucidate how the brain drives trial-by-trial adaptation to compensate for errors
July 20, 2018 - Understanding triple-negative breast cancer to develop better treatments
July 20, 2018 - Study compares outpatient antibiotic prescribing with traditional medical, retail clinic settings
July 20, 2018 - Immediate Monitoring With ECG Patch Ups A-Fib Diagnosis Rate
July 20, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Drug prices and unicorns
July 20, 2018 - Scientists seek to better protect the eye from glaucoma
July 20, 2018 - Football training could improve bone mineral density in prostate cancer patients
July 20, 2018 - Single genetic change in gut bacteria can lead to obesity
July 20, 2018 - Research uncovers new target for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer
July 20, 2018 - WFN to highlight clean air for brain health on World Brain Day 2018
July 20, 2018 - Health Highlights: July 17, 2018
Vaginal estrogen tablets, moisturizers and placebo gel all can improve vaginal discomfort

Vaginal estrogen tablets, moisturizers and placebo gel all can improve vaginal discomfort

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

A clinical trial comparing two treatments for postmenopausal vaginal discomfort – low-dose vaginal estrogen and a vaginal moisturizer – to placebo treatments found that both produced symptom improvements similar to those associated with the placebos after 12 weeks of treatment. The authors note that better understanding of the causes of postmenopausal symptoms could lead to more effective treatment options for this bothersome problem.

“The fact that all three treatments – vaginal estradiol tablets, a vaginal moisturizer and the gel we used as a placebo – were able to reduce symptoms is great news for women, since it means that regular use of any of these treatments is likely to have benefit, whether the cost is $20 or $200,” says Caroline Mitchell, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, corresponding author of the report published online in JAMA Internal Medicine. “The significant impact of vaginal discomfort on the lives of women is reflected by how quickly we were able to enroll more than 300 participants – in less than a year. Women are desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms.”

The authors, from seven research centers across the country, note that symptoms such as vaginal dryness, itching and pain during sexual intercourse affect around half of postmenopausal women and can have negative quality-of-life effects similar to those of chronic conditions like arthritis or irritable bowel syndrome. But more than half of affected women use no medical treatments. Available nonprescription products, such as vaginal lubricants and moisturizers, can be messy; and prescription hormonal treatments in the form of creams, vaginal tablets and oral pills can be expensive and may raise concerns about safety.

The current study was designed to assess the effectiveness of the two most commonly recommended treatments – low-dose estrogen vaginal tablets and a nonhormonal vaginal moisturizer. At two clinical research sites – Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis – the study enrolled 302 women, most between the ages of 55 and 64, who reported moderate to severe symptoms of vaginal itching, dryness, irritation or pain with sexual activity.

Participants were randomly divided into three groups—one receiving a low-dose vaginal estrogen tablet and a placebo vaginal gel, one receiving a placebo vaginal tablet and the nonprescription vaginal moisturizer, and one receiving both placebo tablets and placebo gel. Participants were instructed to administer the vaginal tablet once a day for 2 weeks and then twice a week for the remaining 10 weeks of the study period. The moisturizing gels were to be applied every three days throughout the study period. Neither participants nor study staff knew to which group individual participants were assigned.

At the end of the study period all three groups had similar decreases in the severity of their most bothersome symptom. A similar proportion of women in each group had at least a 50 percent decrease in overall symptom severity, which probably represents a clinically noticeable improvement. Improvement in sexual function and overall treatment satisfaction were also similar across all three groups. There was a significantly higher positive response to the question, “Did you have a meaningful benefit from the treatment?” among those receiving the vaginal estrogen tablet than among those receiving the two placebos.

Mitchell notes that, while most studies of treatments for vaginal discomfort show a significant placebo effect, the size of the response to placebo treatments in this trial was surprising. “It’s hard to say whether the properties of the placebo gel itself, which is an excellent lubricant, are responsible, but our results suggest that regular use of any one of these products may be helpful,” she says. “During the 12 weeks of the trial, more than 90 percent of women used the medication regularly, but prior studies suggest that many women do not continue use of this type of treatment beyond 6 months. A remaining question is whether women find the benefits of the treatment worthwhile enough to continue regular use.” Mitchell is an assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School.


Explore further:
Oral probiotics have no impact on vaginal health in pregnancy

More information:
Caroline M. Mitchell et al. Efficacy of Vaginal Estradiol or Vaginal Moisturizer vs Placebo for Treating Postmenopausal Vulvovaginal Symptoms, JAMA Internal Medicine (2018). DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.0116

Journal reference:
JAMA Internal Medicine

Provided by:
Massachusetts General Hospital

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles