Survey Reveals What Women Really Want in a Treatment for Vaginal Symptoms Due to Menopause

This is a “sponsored post.” Duchesnay compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

Ask a woman who hasn’t yet experienced menopause the first things that come to mind about this life transition and she’ll likely say, “hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain and mood swings.” Now ask the same question to a woman who’s experiencing menopause and she’ll respond, “vaginal dryness”, but she’ll probably say it in a hushed tone.

The most common bothersome symptom, vaginal dryness, can make everyday life, not to mention sexual activity, extremely uncomfortable. Unfortunately, women rarely talk about it and so they’re not getting the relief they’d want—and deserve. While some hope or think vaginal dryness will go away on its own like some symptoms of menopause, others have issues with the treatment options available to them. What’s more, many women aren’t even aware of all their treatment choices. 

To find out what women look for to treat their vaginal symptoms of menopause, FabOverFifty recently published over the summer an online survey sponsored by Duchesnay USA, a pharmaceutical company that specializes in women’s health. A total of 235 women answered this survey, of which 163 respondents matched the target demographic: self-described postmenopausal women reporting experiencing vaginal dryness and/or painful sex.*

What Women Don’t Want

The survey revealed that of the 69% (n=163/235) of respondents who reported experiencing vaginal dryness and/or painful sex, 79% (n=129/163) had tried a topical treatment, but 40% (n=52/129) of them rated their experience as inconvenient. The overwhelming majority (87% (n=45/52)) pointed to messiness as their biggest complaint. 

For decades, treatments for vaginal symptoms of menopause have been limited to topical moisturizers, lubricants, creams and inserts. Many women find these products uncomfortable and inconvenient to use; some require daily vaginal application and/or interfere with sexual intimacy.

What Women Do Want

Given their lack of enthusiasm for topicals to treat vaginal dryness, it wasn’t surprising that 45% (n=74/163) of respondents who had experienced vaginal dryness and/or painful sex due to menopause indicated that they’d prefer to take an oral pill.

The Majority Prefers Non-Hormonal Treatment

Although hormone replacement therapy or estrogen-based products might help some women with vaginal dryness, serious safety concerns continue to surround these options: 59% (n=95/163) of survey respondents expressed apprehension about using a product with estrogen and 68% (n=111/163) indicated that they’d prefer a non-hormonal treatment.

The Treatment Women Wished They Had

Now there’s exciting news for menopausal women who haven’t treated their vaginal symptoms, either because they found topical options inconvenient and uncomfortable or because they were reluctant to use a hormone-based treatment. It’s a once-daily, non-hormonal oral pill called Osphena® (ospemifene). Osphena® is a prescription medication from Duchesnay USA that is FDA-approved for the treatment of moderate to severe vaginal dryness and/or painful sex, symptoms of VVA due to menopause. Osphena® has a Boxed Warning regarding endometrial cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Possible side effects include hot flashes, vaginal discharge, muscle spasms, headache, excessive sweating, heavy vaginal bleeding and night sweats.

Osphena® is convenient to take and won’t disrupt intimate moments. It is not an estrogen, so women who were reluctant to take an estrogen-based treatment can feel confident asking their doctors if Osphena® is the right option for them.

Raising Awareness About Osphena®

Although nearly half (n=74/163) of survey respondents indicated that they’d prefer an oral pill to a topical treatment, only 28% (n=46/163) knew that an oral pill is now available. That’s why it’s so important for women to break their silence about the vaginal symptoms of menopause.

Although hot flashes and weight gain may be easier to discuss than vaginal symptoms like dryness and painful sex, there’s no reason to suffer when a treatment is available. If your doctor doesn’t ask you about vaginal symptoms, start the conversation yourself. Osphena® may be the treatment for you. 

         Dr. Barb DePree

FabOverFifty and Duchesnay USA hope that the availability of Osphena® as an additional treatment option will help broaden awareness and open the dialogue about the vaginal symptoms of menopause. 

To learn more about Osphena® and find valuable information about the vaginal symptoms of menopause, including several informative videos from ob/gyn and menopause specialist Dr. Barb DePree, visit https://www.osphena.com/.

*No screening was performed to confirm identity of and/or answers provided by survey respondents. 

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION INCLUDING BOXED WARNING AND INDICATION

Indication: What is Osphena?

Osphena is a prescription oral pill that treats moderate to severe painful intercourse and/or moderate to severe vaginal dryness, both symptoms of changes in your vagina, due to menopause.

Most Important Information you should know about Osphena

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, changes in vision or speech, sudden new severe headaches, and pains in your chest or legs with or without shortness of breath, weakness and fatigue.

Who should not take OSPHENA?

Osphena should not be used if you have unusual vaginal bleeding, have or have had certain types of cancers, have or have had blood clots, had a stroke or heart attack, have severe liver problems, are allergic to Osphena or any of its ingredients, or think you may be pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider if you are going to have surgery or will be on bed rest.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS

Serious but less common side effects can include: 

  • stroke
  • blood clots
  • cancer of the lining of the uterus

Less serious, but common side effects include:

  • hot flushes or flashes
  • vaginal discharge
  • muscle spasms
  • headache
  • excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • heavy vaginal bleeding (vaginal hemorrhage) 
  • night sweats

Duchesnay USA encourages you to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.Tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines and supplements you take, as some medicines may affect how Osphena works. Osphena may also affect how other medicines work.

Please read accompanying Patient Information for Osphena (ospemifene) tablets, including Boxed Warning in the U.S. Full Prescribing Information.