Q. I went through menopause several years ago and have struggled ever since with vaginal dryness and pain. A few years ago I used Premarin cream, but it was messy and smelly and I was scared that it might promote cancer.

Vitamin E soft gels as vaginal suppositories were not messy. They did help some, but the physician’s assistant at our clinic said I shouldn’t use vitamin E that way.

Replens helps slightly with the dryness but not with the pain. I’ve recently seen TV ads for a pill called Osphena that is supposed to treat this. What can you tell me about that option?

A. Osphena (ospemifene) was approved a year ago for postmenopausal women suffering from painful intercourse. Though it is not estrogen, vaginal tissues respond to it as if it were, becoming thicker and less fragile.

You might ask your doctor about trying these tablets for a short time. This drug might not be a long-term solution for you because uterine tissues respond to Osphena as if it were estrogen, increasing the risk for endometrial cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy are not at risk of this problem and could use it without worrying. Any woman who develops vaginal bleeding while on Osphena should see her doctor promptly. Blood clots are another potential side effect.

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  1. Triplets n 1

    I am a 50 y.o. woman who has Not gone through menopause just yet, but sex with my husband honestly feels like he has knives taped to him (is that an accurate description for anyone else?). In my mid-30s I underwent IVF & took LOTS of Estrogen & even more progesterone to maintain my pregnancies.

    My Gyn initially prescribed Clobetasol cream but it did absolutely nothing to ease the pain. Followed up with Premarin but admittedly I never tried it bc of all the scary side effects. Saw a commercial for Osphena & wonder if it could be the answer to my prayers…? I do have a history of cervical dysplasia & have uterine fibroids currently. But having such a terrible sex life is really taking a toll on my marriage and every time I just “grin & bear it” I end up totally torn to pieces for the next week-10 days.

    And due to 5 totally different sets of circumstances, I’ve gone through 5 gynecologists in the past 8-9 years (same office); this most recent one doesn’t seem to grasp the gravity of my situation, he wants me to try the Premarin & if that doesn’t work, have a hysterectomy, which I Really Don’t Want… :(. I’d love any feedback anyone might have. While I feel badly for each of the women who have posted in this forum, I take some comfort in knowing that it’s NOT just me having an isolated issue of unknown seriousness. So here’s to all of us suffering through this total BS condition; praying we all find some relief SOON!!!

  2. Adele S
    Orlando, Florida

    Sex hurts so much. The pain is so excruciating that it scares me. We always had a great sex life that came to a grinding halt. My gyn gave me a script for Osphena. I took it for three weeks and got bad stomach aches and diarrhea so I stopped taking it. I want to start again to see if it will help but worry about side effects.

    My partner is scared of hurting me and I feel broken. The Osphena comments on here go all the way from “miracle drug” to “dangerous drug.” I take Progesterone and use the Minivelle patch which, in my case, do nothing for vaginal atrophy. The Premarin cream did not help. This problem can destroy a relationship and, if it doesn’t, I feel horrible anyway. At least I now know I am not alone with this. What is the hyaluronic acid and what does it do?

  3. Linda m

    I haven’t had sex for 7 years. I can hardly stand the pain from my doctors GYN exam. She didn’t want me to go in osphena But I need help

  4. K Marin

    As a 55+ women who finished menopause, for the most part, I found myself suffering from Atrophic Vaginal Atrophy and such horrendous pain during intercourse that penetration was impossible. A friend recommended I try Osphena and considered it a miracle drug. By the time I finished the 15 day trial my GYN had given me, I wished I would just die. Seriously, my vagina looked like I had rubbed it with poison ivy. It was unrecognizable. I was tested for every STD, etc. known, more than once and even treated with drugs that are for STD’s. All tests were negative. All drugs failed. Six months later I still have itching and a vaginal infection that is resistant to every drug we’ve tried. MY ADVICE is DO NOT TRY this miracle drug. I would not wish this on my worst enemy!

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