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What is vaginal estrogen?

By Kathleen Morrison
August 7, 2023

Menopause has been in the news—women are talking about their symptoms and expressing frustration that they are expected to simply suffer in silence, despite the fact that this life-changing condition affects half of everyone on the planet! There are over 30 symptoms that can impact a woman’s quality of life, even before she “officially” becomes menopausal. Here at Wisp, we don’t believe in letting stigma get in the way of your health. If you’re suffering from menopause symptoms, there are things you can do to help.

What is vaginal estrogen?

Wisp’s Estradiol Cream is a vaginal estrogen cream that is FDA-approved to treat a variety of symptoms of menopause, which can include vaginal dryness, itching and burning, painful sex, vulvar irritation, frequent urination, and/or recurrent UTIs. As women and people with vaginas age, the decline in estrogen from the ovaries can cause the lining of the vagina to lose elasticity, become more dry, and thin the skin, which contributes to these symptoms.

Many women and people with vaginas also find that they struggle with vaginal dryness after giving birth due to the lower levels of estrogen, especially if they are also breastfeeding. Vaginal estrogen can help to increase lubrication during this period and help with discomfort.

Estradiol vs. Estrogen?

Estradiol is the form of estrogen that most women produce during their reproductive years when they are not pregnant. The estradiol that is in Wisp’s Estradiol Cream is created in a lab, but it is bioidentical to the estrogen that would be naturally produced by your body. This just means that the hormone has the same molecular structure as your biological hormones. Other hormone replacement products, like Premarin and Provera, can contain synthetic hormones that have different molecular structures than your biological hormones, but are converted in your body to a usable form. It’s best to talk to your doctor about your options and what kind of hormone treatment would be the best fit for you!

Is vaginal estrogen safe?

Vaginal estrogen cream has been around and approved by the FDA since the 1980s. When estrogen is absorbed from vaginal tissues, very little goes beyond the vaginal tissues into the body, which helps reduce any potential health risks and/or side effects. This means it can be a great option for people who have health conditions that prevent them from taking oral estrogen.

Can I take vaginal estrogen indefinitely?

Several professional organizations, including the North American Menopause Society, recommend not starting systemic hormone therapy (like oral estrogen) if you are over 10 years from your last menstrual cycle or over the age of 60. However, vaginal estrogen is a considerably much lower dosage than patches or oral preparations due to being topical, so it is safe to start at any age for the treatment of menopausal vaginal concerns. Additionally, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommends against routine discontinuation of systemic or topical hormone therapies over the age of 65 for management of menopausal symptoms. Your doctor will be able to advise you on your best course of treatment if you’re interested in beginning or continuing vaginal estrogen!

How long does it take for vaginal estrogen work?

It will take you about 12 weeks to start experiencing the peak benefits of treatment, but some patients can start seeing improvement in their symptoms in as little as 8 weeks. You will use your product nightly for 2 weeks to replenish estrogen in the vaginal tissues, and then will switch to using it nightly twice a week to maintain the benefits. You should see an improvement in symptoms such as painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, vulvar irritation, itching, and burning, and reduction in UTIs and UTI symptoms such as urinary frequency. If you stop treatment, your symptoms will return since hormone treatments do not persist in the body.

Estradiol Cream?

Common side effects with starting vaginal estrogen can include: vaginal discharge, vulvar irritation, abdominal discomfort, nausea or vomiting, headache, and breast pain. You should notify your provider if you experience any concerning symptoms such as postmenopausal bleeding, severe allergic reaction, visual disturbances, weakness or numbness of your extremities, chest pain, or any other concerning symptoms. Be sure to avoid exposing male sexual partners to your vaginal estrogen cream or suppository by not having sexual intercourse right after using these medicines. Additionally, condoms may become weak and break if used 72 hours after the application of Estradiol Cream, so use a backup method of birth control if you need it.

If vaginal dryness or urinary discomfort caused by hormonal changes is a source of struggle in your life, you can talk to a Wisp doctor about Estradiol Cream! Order online and have it shipped free to your door—no appointment required. Get relief, get back to your life.

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