Affordable Help for Menopausal Women

One of the familiar challenges for older women during sex is a lack of lubrication. Really the lack of lubrication is just one of the symptoms of reduced estrogen due to the natural aging process. Estrogen is what helps keep our tissue young and supple and without it, things can quickly fall apart. Intercourse can become painful due to lack of lubrication, thin tissue and bladder infections become problematic.

The general trend by doctors is to  provide relief by administering a low dose of estrogen locally in the vagina with a cream or small tablet.  The hope is that the estrogen will relieve the symptoms locally without causing some of the increased risks of breast cancer and ovarian cancer caused by taking estrogen orally.

I don’t know who is making all the money off of women that still want to have a great sex life, but somebody is. The price of estrogen has risen dramatically to the point that a months worth of estrogen costs $150. That’s $1800 a year. Crazy, right?

In class I tell women if they have issues, bring it up with their doctor – and keep bringing it up – until they get some help. I have been complaining about the outrageous price of estrogen for 2 years and this year, my doctor said he would see what he could find out. I have a great ob/gyn and he actually called me a week later with several options.

The first option was to have estrogen locally compounded by a pharmacist that would be much cheaper compared to what I was currently paying.

The second option – my doctor  was a little embarrassed to offer, but after doing some research and hearing lots of positive feedback, he decided it was worth a try. He suggested I go to the local health food store and for about $20 purchase a bottle of 100 DHEA 10mg capsules. Then twice a week use my finger to insert one capsule into my vagina. The capsules gradually dissolve to administer the DHEA locally. Yep, that’s $20/year versus $1800/year. You can imagine, I was all over that one. Basically I figure I have nothing to lose.

I’m not a doctor, so feel free to look it up on your own, but basically DHEA is normally produced by your adrenal gland and it is what tells your body to produce estrogen or testosterone.  When you place it in your vagina, the hope is that your body begins to naturally start producing estrogen locally, which in turn restores the condition of your tissue and produces more lubricant.

So, I am giving it a try and figure I have nothing to lose. I looked up a couple of studies on line and the feedback from women was great. I have only been taking it a couple of weeks, but for me, the results have already been positive.

I will say it again, I am not a doctor, so please talk to your own doctor and do your own research. I have high hopes and if this doesn’t work, then you know that I will be back knocking on my doctors door again.

Anybody else out there used DHEA vaginally? What is your feedback?

 

Comments 5

  1. Ruth – Thanks so much for this! I’ve never seen anything on vaginal DHEA use, but given what I know about it from looking into using it orally, I can see why it could work. Your explanation of how it works is dead on, and from what I’ve read, it has a long history of safety. I just ran a Google search and I see a lot of positive research on this.

  2. I’ve never heard about this DHEA treatment. I used local cream post-childbirth for low estrogen, and it immediately fixed my issues. But I don’t remember the cost or any other options. Thanks for covering this!

  3. I read this to my wife and remarked that she should try it and figured for me I d just use it in my rectum. Then I looked it up on google for more info on this! Here is an excerpt of what I found on Mercola.com (to me the most trusted medial website that is always promoting see and effective reasonably priced alternatives)

    Best Way to Use DHEA Cream

    The key mistake that many well-intentioned and knowledgeable doctors — including myself — have made is to advise using DHEA cream on your skin. While this certainly provides better results than swallowing the hormones, the method of delivery can still be improved.

    The primary problem with topical skin application of the cream is that it’s very difficult to determine the dose. Hormones also accumulate in fat tissue, so you may end up with far more than you need.

    There is a relatively minor tweak you can make using the cream that avoids nearly all of the side effects of applying the cream on your skin.
    If you apply the cream to your mucous epithelial membranes that line your vagina, you are able to obtain a virtually ideal administration system. Not only is absorption through these membranes more complete than through your skin, but hormones absorbed through your vaginal membranes also eliminate the production of unwanted metabolites of DHEA.
    Men also require hormones and I myself take DHEA. Obviously men don’t have a vagina to administer the cream, but we do have a rectum that has a similar mucosal epithelial surface. So for men, the ideal delivery system for DHEA is in cream form, through the rectum.

    He adds that mixing the dhea with coconut oil is a good way to do it.

    This is very helpful info and I hope you give a report on how it is working for you. Have been supplementing with Bio-identical t replacement for about 5 years and it is expensive and not a your own t but better than nothing perhaps. We are in our let 50s and vaginal dryness and lack of drive is problem for her.

    • Jack,
      Thanks for the feedback. I may check in on the DHEA cream. So far I have been using the capsules and it seems to be helping.
      Ruth

  4. A good friend and former colleague of mine is a gynecologist. He recently informed me that Pfizer has a promotional program for Premarin vaginal cream – see www,premarinvaginalcream.com for details. They advertise “Pay no more than $15” which is incredible. After research, I found out the following.
    – There are restrictions to get the discount.
    – What the company really does is pays up to $225 per prescription and has a two fill limit.
    – This medication is the one most recommended by gynecologists for post menopausal conditions, but as Ruth noted it is very expensive. I checked three nationwide pharmacies in my area and their cash prices were as follows: Walgreen $422; CVS $409; Wal-Mart $368.
    – Pharmacies deduct Pfizer’s $225 from their cost and you pay the rest. Depending on your health plan, they may cover an additional amount. If you are lucky, your cost may be lowered to the advertised $15. If they don’t cover anything, you are looking in the $140-200 range.
    – Our plan is through a large HMO, covered part of the cost and the final total was $91. My wife was not happy about that but we feel it is definitely worth trying.

    For completeness sake, I briefly checked online versions – primarily from Canada. They are significantly cheaper. You can get a 42 gram tube (Pfizer’s are only 30) for roughly $55, which includes shipping. I need to do further research on this (e.g. is this the brand name vs. generic; restrictions; etc). I may post a follow up at a later time.

    Though not a gynecologist, I am a recently retired physician. Treating postmenopausal problems such as painful intercourse and vaginal atrophy is expensive – but it can also be very beneficial. I am supplying this information with the hopes that some readers may find this useful.

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