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. Cheryl R.
    KY
    Reply

    I’ve been on Osphena for two weeks now, and while intercourse already seems less painful, I find that I’m becoming ridiculously emotional. It’s almost like I’m PMSing, and at 62, that’s totally unacceptable! I can’t take this restless, uneasy irritability. Has anyone else experienced this?

  2. norma
    wichita, ks
    Reply

    I was taking estrdiol. the dr, put me on osphena. which is best for burning in the vagina and constant urination?

  3. Marie
    MD
    Reply

    I’ve been taking Osphena for a year. I stopped, and my symptoms seem to be back. Osphena has worked great for me.

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