ORIGINAL RESEARCH-FSD PHARMACOTHERAPY
Resistance and Barriers to Local Estrogen Therapy in Women with Atrophic Vaginitis
Version of Record online: 27 MAR 2013
© 2013 International Society for Sexual Medicine
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Volume 10, Issue 6, pages 1567–1574, June 2013
How to Cite
Kingsberg, S. A. and Krychman, M. L. (2013), Resistance and Barriers to Local Estrogen Therapy in Women with Atrophic Vaginitis. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10: 1567–1574. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12120
- Issue online: 4 JUN 2013
- Version of Record online: 27 MAR 2013
- Novo Nordisk, Inc.
- Emotional Brain
- Warner Chilcott
- Sprout Pharmaceuticals
- Patient Education;
- Local Estrogen Therapy;
- Postmenopausal Women;
- Vaginal Atrophy
Vaginal atrophy results from a decrease in circulating estrogen and is experienced by approximately 50% of postmenopausal women. Its symptoms affect multiple dimensions of genitopelvic health, sexuality, and overall quality of life. Nonhormonal over-the-counter treatments may provide temporary symptom relief, but the condition is progressive, and hormonal treatment may be warranted.
The study aims to review the literature and discuss the impact of atrophic vaginitis and various treatment options, including the resistance and barriers to the use of local estrogen therapy for atrophic vaginitis. This article also aims to provide a greater awareness of the condition and the difficulties in communicating effectively with patients, and to provide strategies to help healthcare professionals acquire effective communication skills to initiate a candid dialogue with patients who may be suffering in silence and may benefit from therapy.
This review was based on peer-reviewed publications on the topic of atrophic vaginitis and local estrogen therapy identified from key word searches of PubMed, in addition to landmark studies/surveys and treatment guidelines/recommendations on menopause available in the literature and on the Internet.
Main Outcome Measures.
The main outcomes are the impact of atrophic vaginitis and the various treatment options, including the resistance and barriers to the use of local estrogen therapy.
Minimally absorbed local vaginal estrogen therapy enables administration of estrogen doses much lower than systemic doses used for vasomotor symptoms. Local therapy is also the first-line pharmacologic treatment recommended by the North American Menopause and International Menopause Societies. Despite treatment options, the sensitive nature of the condition and embarrassment may prohibit or limit many women from openly discussing symptoms with healthcare professionals. Many are hesitant to initiate hormonal treatment because of safety concerns.
Healthcare professionals should initiate and encourage frank and candid conversation about vaginal atrophy at annual visits and provide follow-up and treatment as needed.