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Symptom Checker

Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Vaginal Dryness

The next option to consider is local estrogen, which means estrogen placed directly into the vagina. Estrogen in the vagina can relieve vaginal dryness and other symptoms from atrophic vaginitis. Unless it is given in a very high dose, it does not relieve hot flashes. Low-dose vaginal estrogen is minimally absorbed into the blood stream, so the health risks from estrogen replacement are a much smaller concern. Low dose vaginal estrogen can be continued long-term.

Vaginal estrogen is available in several forms. It is available as a vaginal insert that is shaped like a ring, such as Estring. The ring is made of flexible silicone that slowly releases stored estrogen. It is inserted and left in place for three months at a time. A high-dose estrogen ring (Femring) is available, but this causes a significant amount of estrogen to enter the bloodstream, so its risks are similar to those of oral estrogen.

Vaginal estrogen is also available as vaginal tablets (Vagifem) that are specifically designed to be inserted into the vagina. (If you have been prescribed estrogen tablets with directions to take them orally, do not insert these into your vagina.)

Vaginal estrogen is also available as a cream (Premarin cream and other brands). Some women feel that the cream form of estrogen is the fastest to relieve symptoms because it provides extra lubrication.

These treatments require a prescription. Visit with your doctor if you would like to discuss local (vaginal) estrogen treatment.

Click here to review treatments other than estrogen.

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