Premarin Vaginal Cream is a prescription medication that consists of conjugated estrogens in a topical cream base. It is primarily used to provide relief of vaginal symptoms such as skin irritation and painful intercourse in postmenopausal women. A typical dose contains 0.625 mg of conjugated estrogens applied directly to the skin in and around the vagina.
How Premarin Vaginal Cream Treats Symptoms of Estrogen Loss
The female hormone estrogen is produced by the ovaries. It influences a number of bodily functions such as calcium absorption, cholesterol regulation and elasticity and tone of the uterus, urethra and bladder. As women approach menopause, their ovaries begin to produce less estrogen and progesterone; the resulting hormone imbalance manifests as bothersome symptoms including hot flashes, insomnia, headaches, irritability, dry skin, mild incontinence and vaginal dryness. In some cases, doctors recommend oral hormone replacement therapy, but symptoms specifically affecting the vagina and surrounding tissues respond well to a topical low-dose cream like Premarin that replaces estrogen locally.
With prolonged use, the cream can even restore the thickness and elasticity of vaginal tissues. It may take up to three weeks of treatment before results are noticeable. Because the drug only produces a localized effect, very little is absorbed into the bloodstream, so it is less likely to cause the unwanted side effects associated with oral hormone replacement therapy.
Benefits for Conditions in Women Older than 35
In women 35 and older, vaginal dryness and related symptoms are most often due to menopause-related estrogen loss. As estrogen levels diminish, natural lubrication decreases, and the skin lining vaginal walls begins to thin; this condition is known as vaginal atrophy. According to the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine, Newport Beach, CA, up to 40 percent of postmenopausal women experience symptoms of vaginal atrophy. In moderate to severe cases, symptoms like painful intercourse and vaginal irritation, itching or burning may lead to reduced sexual activity. Fortunately, vaginal atrophy is a treatable condition.
According to a multi-center study conducted by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, the response of vaginal atrophy symptoms to Premarin Vaginal Cream 0.5 g was significantly greater relative to placebo administration after a 12-week treatment course. The study involved 423 postmenopausal women aged 45-80 years.
In addition to vaginal symptoms, some women with low estrogen experience urethral irritation and a tendency to develop urinary tract infections. Weakening of the urethral tissues may even lead to stress incontinence with urine leakage. Low-dose Premarin Vaginal Cream may improve these symptoms.
Benefits for Conditions in Women Younger than 35
In younger women, similar symptoms may occur due to hysterectomy, hypogonadism, pituitary gland disorders, low body fat, polycystic ovary syndrome or premature menopause. Premarin Vaginal Cream can be used to treat these symptoms when oral therapy is not recommended or necessary. Since it only administers a small hormone dose, the cream may be a safer alternative for young women who cannot undergo oral or injectable hormone replacement therapy due to liver or gallbladder disease.
Special Considerations Concerning Topical Premarin Therapy
Smoking while using Premarin Vaginal Cream is not advised. It can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications such as blood clots, strokes and heart attacks that are associated with conjugated estrogens.
Weight gain caused by fluid retention may occur at the beginning of therapy. It is usually temporary and should not be confused with weight gain related to the onset of menopause or perimenopause.
Estrogen therapy may exacerbate existing endometriosis. Because Premarin Vaginal Cream is a topical, low-dose product, it is less likely to cause problems, but patients should discuss the treatment with their physician if there is a history of endometriosis or uterine cancer.
Talk to Your Doctor About Premarin Vaginal Cream
Vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and urinary problems can be difficult to talk about, but you should not suffer in silence when effective therapies are available. In many cases, a simple check-up, a brief conversation with your physician and a trip to the pharmacy are all it takes to resolve vaginal atrophy symptoms. Using Premarin Vaginal Cream is easy; simply apply the product twice weekly at your convenience. Before starting any new drug therapy, inform your physician of your full medical history, including current and past illnesses and any prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines and supplements you are taking.
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