Advertisement

How is a vaginal estrogen cream or suppository used to treat menopause?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Estrogen can be applied directly to the vagina to ease the discomfort caused by vaginal atrophy. Atrophy is a change in the vaginal lining that can cause vaginal dryness, itching, irritation, or pain with intercourse. Estrogen is available by prescription as a cream (Estrace, Premarin) and as a suppository (Vagifem). It helps to restore the thickness and elasticity of the vagina, which can improve symptoms.

Vaginal estrogen is more effective than estrogen taken by mouth or with a skin patch for relieving symptoms of dryness, itching, and pain during intercourse. It is also more effective than other gels and creams that do not contain estrogen. It can take a few weeks, and sometimes longer, for the symptoms to lessen.

Vaginal estrogen can also help to relieve urinary symptoms. During menopause, many women need to urinate often and urgently. They may need to urinate at night and sometimes urinating is painful. For these symptoms, vaginal estrogen is more effective than either the pill form or the patch. Vaginal estrogen can also help some women with bladder control problems or frequent urinary tract infections. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

Continue Learning about Estrogen

What are the side effects of conjugated estrogens?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
Side effects may include dizziness, throat or neck pain, upper abdominal pain, indigestion, nausea, ...
More Answers
How do vaginal estrogen rings work to relieve menopause symptoms?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
The Estring releases estradiol, a form of estrogen, at a dosage of 7.5 mcg a day. Estradiol acts dir...
More Answers
What is estriol?
Multiple Sclerosis FoundationMultiple Sclerosis Foundation
Estriol is one of the three main estrogens (estradiol and estrone are the other two) produced by the...
More Answers
Can I replace estrogen through a healthy diet?
Dr. Michael Roizen, MDDr. Michael Roizen, MD
Some people believe that adding soy and flaxseed to diets can compensate for loss of natural estroge...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.