Vaginal dryness, a condition that results from low levels of estrogen in the body, is particularly common in menopausal and post-menopausal women, but it can affect women of all ages. Factors that contribute to vaginal dryness include the process of menopause, breastfeeding, prolonged stress, certain medications and frequent exercise. Women can treat this condition with a cream for vaginal dryness that promotes lubrication and decreases pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse. The vaginal dryness creams discussed below are among the prescription and over-the-counter remedies available for use.
Premarin, available by prescription, is a vaginal dryness cream formulated with estrogen hormones. Most often prescribed for women in menopause, Premarin is a substitute for natural estrogens in the body and treats dryness, pain, and discomfort in the vaginal tissues.
Using Premarin: Premarin is inserted into the vagina through the use of an applicator. Women who use this cream follow a doctor-determined dosing schedule.
Warnings/Side Effects: Women who use Premarin are at an increased risk for developing uterine cancer. The cream should not be used by women who are pregnant or who have a history of breast cancer, liver disease, heart attacks, or strokes. Side effects include breast pain, dizziness, vaginal bleeding, vaginal irritation and muscle cramps.
A non-prescription cream with a polycarbophil base, Replens is an alternative option to estrogen cream that aids in relieving vaginal dryness. Designed to help facilitate the shedding of dry tissue cells, Replens keeps the vaginal area lubricated when applied regularly.
Using Replens: Replens can be applied as often as once daily, though the recommended dosage is once every three days. After inserting the cream with an applicator, women should wait at least two hours for lubrication to replenish before having intercourse.
Warnings/Side Effects: Replens should not be used during a menstrual period. This cream may also produce a vaginal discharge of dried tissue cells in some women.
Creme de la Femme
Creme de la Femme is a vaginal dryness cream option for women who are seeking a hormone-free product that does not contain glycerin, dyes, or other potential irritants. Formulated with mineral oil, this over-the-counter cream adds a protective layer of moisture to dry vaginal tissue.
Using Creme de la Femme: This cream can be applied at any time, either manually or with an applicator. Creme de la Femme adjusts to the body's temperature on contact and is designed to prevent vaginal dryness for hours at a time.
Warnings/Side Effects: Creme de la Femme should not be used in conjunction with latex condoms during intercourse, though the cream is compatible with polyurethane condoms.
Choosing A Cream
When deciding on a cream for vaginal dryness, women who are concerned about potential side effects should consult a physician for further guidance. Due to certain pre-existing health conditions and risk factors, some women are not candidates for using vaginal creams that contain estrogen hormones. In these cases, doctors may recommend non-hormonal lubricant formulas and natural remedies for vaginal dryness. In conjunction with applying cream, women can treat this type of vaginal issue by drinking adequate amounts of water and avoiding chemical irritants.