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using dhea suppositories for vaginal atrophy

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

As women enter the menopausal age, hormones start declining, and without therapy, symptoms of menopause become worse. With this hormone loss, the vaginal epithelium becomes atrophic and physiological lubrication is reduced.

This can lead to physical discomforts, such as vaginal dryness, irritation, itching, burning, dyspareunia, all of which can lead to decreased libido, causing sexual distress both to the patient and her partner.

Conventional treatments include intravaginal conjugated estrogen or estradiol; however, other studies have provided compounders with alternative choices. Vaginal moisturizers can improve the balance of intracellular fluids in the vaginal epithelium. Vaginal lubricants have more of a short-term action because they act as a mechanical barrier between the vaginal epithelium and the external environment, improving the dryness related to sexual activity

In 2009, Labrie et al. (2009) studied dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) for libido and sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. Intravaginal doses studied include 3.25 mg, 6.5 mg and 13 mg versus placebo. A parameter of this study considered the benefit of intravaginal DHEA on vaginal atrophy, dryness and itching. Results showed that at the end of 12 weeks, all three doses had an equal benefit on vaginal dryness, and no adverse events were reported. On the domain of arousal lubrication, the 13 mg dose achieved the best score, although all three doses showed tremendous benefit at 12 weeks.3 The researchers evaluated serum steroid levels in a separate study and found to be within the normal postmenopausal range.

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1. Labrie, F., Archer, D., Bouchard, C., Fortier, M., Cusan, L., Gomez, J. L. … Balser, J. (2009). Effect of intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone (Prasterone) on libido and sexual dysfunction in postmenopausal women. Menopause, 16(5), 923-931. gme.0b013e31819e85c6

2. Labrie, F., Archer, D., Bouchard, C., Fortier, M., Cusan, L., Gomez, J. L. … Balser, J. (2009). Serum steroid levels during 12-week intravaginal dehydroepiandrosterone administration. Menopause, 16(5), 897-906


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