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Ovestin

Ovestin cream, otherwise known as Estriol (which is the drug it contains) is a Hormone Replacement Therapy that comes in the form of a vaginal cream. Ovestin cream is an oestrogen-only HRT. When you stop having periods your levels of oestrogen drop causing several symptoms, one of those is vaginal dryness. This is because the lack of oestrogens in your blood cause the vaginal wall to thin. The result of the thinner vaginal wall and vaginal dryness is that sex becomes painful and you are more prone to vaginal infections. A product like Ovestin cream can relieve this symptom giving you back your sex life and helping to ward off infections.

The menopause can bring lots of ups and downs into your life, the symptoms can really affect your day to day life and happiness. Although some of these symptoms may be difficult to talk about, changes in your libido, vaginal dryness that makes sex painful or frequent vaginal infections can cause real problems, so it’s worth knowing that there are medicines like estriol and treatments like Ovestin cream out there that may be able to provide you with some relief. The menopause usually takes place somewhere between the ages of 45 and 50, with the average age in the UK being 51.

The menopause happens in 3 stages:

  • Perimenopause:
    The time when your periods are becoming less frequent and lighter, lasts on average 4 years.
  • Menopause:
    Once your last period finishes.
  • Postmenopause:
    Menopause ends one full year after your last period but it usually takes 2 to 5 years for symptoms to stop You start the menopause because your ovaries stop producing eggs, nobody knows what triggers this, although obviously if you have surgery to remove them, this can. When your ovaries stop producing eggs the levels of the hormone oestrogen in your body drop. It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, you’ll notice your periods becoming lighter and less frequent for some time before they completely stop.

When the oestrogen levels in your body drop you may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Hot flushes;
  • Vaginal dryness;
  • Lower sex drive;
  • Night sweats;
  • Difficulty sleeping;
  • Headaches;
  • Anxiety;
  • Mood changes;
  • Palpitations;
  • Joint pain or stiffness;
  • Frequent urinary tract infections;
  • Reduced muscle mass;
  • Weak bones or osteoporosis.

These low amounts of oestrogen can also lead to other problems like fragile bones or osteoporosis. It’s really important to maintain a healthy lifestyle when going through the menopause as it can help to ward off some of the symptoms and offer extra protection against things like osteoporosis. Try to stay fit and exercise for 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. This can be an exercise like walking, gardening, yoga or pilates. In addition to exercise, you should eat a healthy, well- balanced diet that’s full of the nutrients your body needs. It’s also worth keeping an eye on the amount of alcohol you consume and keeping it to a minimum. If you’re a smoker then consider quitting.

The menopause can last anything from 6 months to 13 years. Some women manage to cope very well with it, their symptoms are moderate and can be controlled or lessened with a few simple lifestyle changes, e.g. wearing layers so you have something to remove if you’re having a hot flush, exercising every day to improve sleep. For others with symptoms, like vaginal dryness life can be miserable. Symptoms can last for up to four years once your periods stop. Hormone Replacement Therapies using drugs like estriol have been developed to help women suffering from severe menopausal symptoms. Hormone Replacement Therapy is the main treatment for the symptoms of menopause in the UK. As the name suggests the idea is to re-balance the hormones in your body by adding oestrogen or a combination of oestrogen and progesterone.

This can be done using several different methods:

  • Tablets;
  • Patches;
  • Vaginal;
  • Creams;
  • Gels;
  • Pessaries Rings.

Not all HRT treatments are taken the same way, some are used continuously, others alter along with your menstrual cycle. If you are suffering from vaginal dryness you may wish to consider a direct application medicine like Ovestin vaginal cream.

What is Ovestin cream?

Ovestin cream, otherwise known as Estriol (which is the drug it contains) is a Hormone Replacement Therapy that comes in the form of a vaginal cream. Ovestin cream is an oestrogen-only HRT. When you stop having periods your levels of oestrogen drop causing several symptoms, one of those is vaginal dryness. This is because the lack of oestrogens in your blood cause the vaginal wall to thin. The result of the thinner vaginal wall and vaginal dryness is that sex becomes painful and you are more prone to vaginal infections. A product like Ovestin cream can relieve this symptom giving you back your sex life and helping to ward off infections.

When is Ovestin cream used?

Ovestin cream is used for vaginal problems that come from having too little oestrogen in the body. This is usually caused by menopause. Ovestin is particularly aimed to help with the menopausal symptom of vaginal dryness which can lead to painful sex and frequent infections. Ovestin cream can also be prescribed for wound healing when undergoing vaginal surgery.

How do you use Ovestin cream?

Ovestin vaginal cream comes with its own applicator. You use the applicator to apply Ovestin cream inside the vagina. Ovestin cream is applied once a day. We recommend you apply Ovestin at night.

Step by step instructions for using Ovestin cream:

  1. Remove the cap from the Ovestin tube and use it to pierce the metal seal on the end;
  2. Screw the applicator onto the tube;
  3. Squeeze the tube of Ovestin until the cream fills the applicator;
  4. Fill up to the red ring mark (the plunger will stop there);
  5. Unscrew the applicator and put the cap back onto the tube;
  6. Now apply your Ovestin cream, lie down and push the end of the applicator deep into your vagina, slowly push the plunger in completely;
  7. Once you have finished applying Ovestin cream separate the plunger and barrel and wash them both in hand-hot (not boiling) soapy water;
  8. Rinse well with clean water. Ovestin cream comes off easily in water.

What are the dosages?

You should always follow the advice of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to taking medicines, below you’ll find a general guide to dosages and timings. The active oestrogen in Ovestin cream is called Estriol, each 5mg of Ovestin cream UK contains 0.5mg of Estriol.

When using Ovestin cream for the first time you can start treatment straight away if:

  • You’ve had your womb and ovaries removed;
  • You’ve never used an HRT before or you are changing from an HRT that stops you from having a period.

You will need to delay starting your estriol treatment with Ovestin vaginal cream if:

  • You are changing from a different HRT where you have a period. In this case, start using your Ovestin cream one week after you finish the other treatment.

The normal dose for vaginal problems is:

  • One applicator full (up to the ring) of Ovestin cream per day for the first 2 to 3 weeks;
  • After this, the dose is 1 applicator full (up to the ring) of Ovestin cream twice a week.

You should be prescribed the lowest possible dose of Ovestin to relieve your symptoms. You may need to take a break from time to time to see if your estriol treatment is still required.

The normal dose of Ovestin cream before vaginal surgery is:

  • One applicator full (up to the ring) of Ovestin cream per day for 2 weeks before the surgery

The normal dose after surgery is:

  • One applicator full (up to the ring) of Ovestin cream twice a week.

If you forget to apply your dose of Ovestin apply it as soon as you remember unless it has been more than 12 hours since you should have applied it, in which case skip that dose. If you apply too much Ovestin cream, don’t worry it may make you feel or be sick or cause some vaginal bleeding but shouldn’t cause any long-term problems.

What are the side effects of Ovestin cream?

As with all medicines, Ovestin cream can cause some side effects but not everyone who uses Ovestin will get them:

Important issues to look out for are:

  • Yellowing skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice);
  • Signs of a blood clot (painful swelling in the leg, sudden chest pain, difficulty breathing);
  • Sudden migraines or severe headaches;
  • A rise in blood pressure.

If you notice any of these speak to your doctor straight away.

Other side effects are:

  • Gallbladder problems;
  • Skin irritation in or around the vagina (usually eases after a while);
  • Increased vaginal discharge;
  • Headaches;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Flu-like symptoms;
  • Rashes or skin problems;
  • Swollen, tender or painful breasts.

When shouldn’t you use Ovestin cream?

You shouldn’t use Ovestin vaginal cream if you are allergic to any of the ingredients listed on the pack.

If you have ever had any of the following you should also avoid using Ovestin cream:

  • Liver disease Breast cancer;
  • Cancer of the womb lining or ovaries;
  • Excessive thickening of the womb lining;
  • Angina;
  • Heart attack;
  • Blood clots;
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding;
  • A rare blood problem called porphyria.

Occurrences of breast cancer, cancer of the womb lining and heart disease have been shown t be slightly higher in women using HRT than women who aren’t using HRT. General health factors (weight, alcohol consumption, smoking) can also increase your risk levels for these diseases. If you are unsure about anything to do with Ovestin discuss it with your doctor.

If you have ever had any of the following you should talk to your doctor before taking Premarin as it can make things worse or cause a recurrence so you will need more frequent check-ups:

  • Growth of womb lining outside your womb or excessive growth in the womb lining;
  • Circulation or heart problems;
  • Diabetes;
  • Relatives who’ve had blood clots;
  • Gallstones;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Liver or kidney problems;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Asthma;
  • A disease that affects your immune system;
  • Otosclerosis (a hearing disorder).

Does Ovestin cream interact with other medications?

Always tell your doctor about any other medication you are taking before you are prescribed a new medicine. This includes complementary medicines and supplements. Some medicines can affect the way that Ovestin cream works or Ovestin can affect how some other medicines work.

It’s particularly important that you mention any of the following:

  • Medicines used for epilepsy;
  • Herbal remedies containing St John’s wort;
  • Medicines for infections;
  • Medicines for viral infections;
  • Corticosteroids, succinylcholine, theophylline or troleandomycin;
  • The combination drug ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir for Hepatitis C.

Where can you buy Ovestin cream?

You can buy Ovestin cream UK from any pharmacy nationwide. You can order online and get it delivered to your door or pop into any of your local pharmacies.

Can I get Ovestin cream without a prescription?

No, you cannot buy Ovestin cream or Estriol without a prescription, you will need to discuss the treatment with a doctor first. You could arrange an online consultation or make an appointment with your regular doctor to discuss your needs.

References

Aspen Bad Oldesloe Gmbh. (April 2018). Ovestin Patient Leaflet. Retrieved from https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.5384.pdf

Brazier, Yvette. (May 2017). What you need to know about HRT. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181726.php

Irani, Shirin. (2019). Consultant Gynaecologist Menopause. Retrieved from https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/womens-health/menopause

NHS UK. (July 2016). Hormone Replacement Therapy. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt/

NHS UK. (August 2018). Menopause Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/menopause/treatment/

Patient Leaflet(s)
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