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Treating dyspareunia caused by vaginal atrophy: a review of treatment options using vaginal estrogen therapy

Authors SA Kingsberg, S Kellogg, M Krychman

Published 20 August 2009 Volume 2009:1 Pages 105—111

DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S4872

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

SA Kingsberg¹, S Kellogg², M Krychman³

1University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University Cleveland OH, USA; 2The Pelvic and Sexual Health Institute of Philadelphia, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA; 3Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, Newport Beach, CA, USA

Abstract: Vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) and dryness are common symptoms of the decline in endogenous production of estrogen at menopause and often result in dyspareunia. Yet while 10% to 40% of women experience discomfort due to VVA, it is estimated that only 25% seek medical help. The main goals of treatment for vaginal atrophy are to improve symptoms and to restore vaginal and vulvar anatomic changes. Treatment choices for postmenopausal dyspareunia resulting from vulvovaginal atrophy will depend on the underlying etiology and might include individualized treatment. A number of forms of vaginal estrogen and manner of delivery are currently available to treat moderate to severe dyspareunia caused by VVA. They all have been shown to be effective and are often the preferred treatment due to the targeted efficacy for urogenital tissues while resulting in only minimal systemic absorption. Both healthcare professionals and patients often find it difficult to broach the subject of sexual problems associated with VVA. However, with minimal effort to initiate a conversation about these problems, healthcare providers can provide useful information to their postmenopausal patients in order to help them each choose the optimal treatment for their needs and symptoms.

Keywords: dyspareunia, postmenopausal vulvovaginal atrophy, vaginal estrogen therapy

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