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Vaginal Dryness

Since you are having both hot flashes and vaginal dryness, you may want to take estrogen replacement in a dose that is adequate to relieve both of these symptoms.

There are some risks and benefits that you and your doctor will need to consider together if you are interested in using estrogen at a dose that is adequate for your hot flashes. In your case, the risks listed below include those for women who take estrogen alone, without taking progesterone. These risks occur for women who take estrogen in a full replacement dose (by pill, patch, or high-dose vaginal treatment).

Risks from estrogen:

- You are more likely to have a stroke

- You are more likely to develop dementia, possibly by causing small strokes

- You are more likely to get a blood clot in your leg or your lungs (pulmonary embolus)

- You are more likely to get gallstones

There are some benefits from estrogen, such as:

- Estrogen can relieve your hot flashes

- Estrogen after menopause reduces your risk for urinary tract infections

- Estrogen increases your bone density, and it helps to prevent bone fractures (but other treatments are available to improve your bone density without posing the risks that are specific to estrogen)

- Estrogen can relieve your vaginal dryness

Other issues that studies have revealed:

- Estrogen alone does not appear to worsen -- nor to improve -- heart attack risk when it is used in women under the age of 60; however, for older women, estrogen may increase heart attack risk

- Estrogen alone has uncertain long-term effects on the risk for breast cancer, but use of estrogen for a short time during menopause does not appear to increase breast cancer risk

Most women who use estrogen for hot flashes use the medicine for five years or less, which is considered short-term treatment. Most experts would advise you that the risks of short-term estrogen treatment (without progesterone) are about equally balanced by the benefits. For people who are very bothered by hot flashes, estrogen is a sensible treatment.

Visit with your doctor if you would like to discuss estrogen to treat both your vaginal dryness and hot flashes.

If your hot flashes are not very bothersome, or if you have already used estrogen for five years and have discontinued it, you may want to consider other treatments for your vaginal dryness.

Click here for more treatment options.

Disclaimer: This content should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a call or visit to a health professional. Use of this content is subject to specific Terms of Use & Medical Disclaimers.

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