Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) isn’t just for easing hot flashes – when used as a vaginal estrogen cream, it can also combat post-menopausal female dryness.
Dr. Laura Corio, a New York-based OB-GYN writing on a WebMD blog, argues in favor of HRT as a treatment option for many women – assuming you haven’t had breast cancer. In particular, she discusses the role of vaginal estrogen cream in preventing the layers of the vagina and the bladder from thinning.
Vaginal and bladder walls thin naturally as we age and lose estrogen. For many women, it can be a serious problem, since it can lead to dyspareunia, which simply means sex becomes very painful.
And if that’s not reason enough to consider HRT, consider this: That same thinning of the vagina and bladder can make you itch and generally feel like you have a chronic infection.
Hormone replacement therapy can increase your risk of uterine cancer, strokes, blood clots and gallbladder disease. Corio contends most women can still safely benefit from HRT – under a doctor’s care.
“If you have breast cancer, I would not encourage you take hormones because it could increase your risk for recurrence, but many women can take HRT safely,” she writes.
It’s important to remember, Corio adds, that estrogen treatments should always include progesterone unless you’ve had a hysterectomy. The progesterone helps protect against uterine cancer.
Regardless, you should talk to your own doctor about whether or not HRT and vaginal estrogen cream is right for you. Your doctor should also closely monitor your use of hormones, since they have been linked to problems.
It’s also important to remember that hormones aren’t the only way to address female dryness.
Natural lubrication, available over-the-counter at any pharmacy and many grocery stores, can be used to make sex less painful. Many Vibrant women also turn to vibrators to create natural lubrication. To learn more about lubricants and enjoying sex in menopause and beyond, download Vibrant Nation’s free report “Best Lubricants After 50: Our Favorite Personal Lubricants, Female Moisturizers and Natural Solutions to Female Dryness.”