New treatment for painful sex in a vaginal cream.
If you are struggling with painful sex due to thinning of the vagina and the tissue around it, a new treatment is on the horizon, likely in 2016. It’s called prasterone, and it’s a vaginal cream that contains 0.5% (6.5 mg) of the hormone DHEA. The article was in the online February 16, 2015 issue of the journal Maturitas.
The study was conducted by the company EndoCeutics of Quebec City, Quebec and was intended to see if the new medication could help women coping with painful sex, vaginal dryness and irritation/itching of the skin around the vagina.
Prasterone will be an interesting new addition to the treatment of painful sex.
Prasterone was taken vaginally each day for 52 weeks by the 521 postmenopausal women in the study. The painful sex score went from a baseline of 2.53 to 0.87 at one year in women who rated painful sex as their most worrisome symptom. That is a decrease in pain severity of 66.1%. For women who had painful sex but did not consider it their most bothersome treatment, their pain severity declined from 2.53 at baseline to 0.85 at 52 weeks.
Of the 81 women who considered vaginal dryness to be their most bothersome symptom, they had a 73.4% reduction in severity between baseline and one year. The same findings occurred for the 170 who had vaginal dryness but did not consider it to be their most bothersome treatment.
Twenty-three women rated irritation and itching as their most bothersome symptom and 53 more women rated irritation and itching as bothersome but not their most bothersome symptom. Both groups felt their symptoms improved by 70%.
In addition to these subjective improvements, measuring the cells that line the vagina and the pH of the vaginal tissues, the treatment showed the type of changes typically seen with estrogen treatment; namely, a lower pH and a higher percentage of superficial cells with greater thickness and pinker color of the vaginal tissues.
Taken all together, this study suggests that prasterone will be an interesting new addition to the treatment of these very common, bothersome symptoms of menopause. It isn’t clear if women would have to continue to stay on the medication in order to keep experiencing the benefits – or how long the benefits would continue if the medication were stopped. Stay tuned