HealthDay News — For menopausal women with moderate-severe vulvovaginal symptoms, treatment with low-dose vaginal estradiol is associated with improved menopause-related quality of life, according to a study published online May 7 in Menopause.

Susan J. Diem, MD, MPH, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues enrolled 302 postmenopausal women in a 12-week trial. Participants were randomized to either vaginal estradiol tablet plus placebo gel (102 women), vaginal moisturizer plus placebo tablet (100 women), or dual placebo (100 women). The change in total scores of the Menopause-Specific Quality of Life (MENQOL) questionnaire was assessed from randomization to 12 weeks. 

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The researchers observed a significantly greater improvement in total MENQOL scores for treatment with vaginal estradiol compared with dual placebo (mean difference between arms, −0.3 at 12 weeks). The MENQOL sexual function domain had a significant between-group difference favoring vaginal estradiol (−0.4 at 12 weeks); significant differences were not seen for the other domains. Compared with placebo, treatment with vaginal moisturizer was not associated with a significant improvement in MENQOL scores or in any of the MENQOL domains. Compared with placebo, neither treatment group showed improvement in the patient Health Questionnaire 8 or Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire.

“Treatment with low-dose vaginal estradiol, but not vaginal moisturizer, modestly improved menopause-related quality of life and sexual function domain scores in postmenopausal women with moderate-severe vulvovaginal symptoms,” the authors write.

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