Vaginal Dryness in Menopausal Women: Clinical Characteristics and Nonhormonal Treatment

(1991) Clinical Practice in Sexuality 7: 1-8. Bachman, G., Notelovitz, M., Gonzalez, SJ, Thompson, C., Morecraft, B.

A decrease in vaginal moisture, a frequent accompaniment of menopause is often ignored or treated with estrogen. While estrogen replacement is generally the preferred treatment, it is not suitable for all women or the effects may not be sufficiently rapid. Therefore, it is important to study other options. We investigated 89 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women complaining of the symptoms of vaginal dryness, including itching, burning, irritation, pressure, and dyspareunia, and the effects of two nonhormonal vaginal preparations (a water- based lubricant and a new polycarbophil-based vaginal moisturizer). The women for this two-center, randomized, double-blind crossover study were recruited from two gynecologic clinical practices. Both nonhormonal preparations improved vaginal moisture; the polycarbophil-based moisturizer also lowered pH, increased the quantity of vaginal fluid volume, and decreased the friability of the vaginal surface with speculum insertion. Over 80% of the women noted improvement of their vaginal symptoms with nonhormonal therapy, with 61.5% preferring the polycarbophil-based moisturizer, 26.5% preferring the water-based lubricant and 12.9% having no preference.