There are Alternatives to Prescription Drugs for Painful Sex and Vaginal Dryness

Katie Thomas’s article published in the NY Times this past Monday, “Prices Keep Rising for Drugs Treating Painful Sex in Women, describes how “pharmaceutical companies get away with marking up drugs used to improve women’s sex lives because there’s little public outcry over a topic that’s pretty much taboo.” While the article highlights the issue, it does not provide a simple solution and there is one. Please consider helping women understand that they DO have an affordable, non-hormonal solution available to them without incurring costly hormone-therapy. Few life events affect as many people as menopause and cancer survivorship. Women and their physicians should discuss non-hormonal solutions to combat menopause and age-related issues.

As a post-menopausal cancer survivor, the article would cause me to panic, had I been unfamiliar with a very affordable ($15-$16 for 8-14 applications) estrogen-free solution to vaginal dryness and painful sex that is readily available at any drug or grocery store without a prescription. As a publicist, I’ve spent the better part of my career educating women about the benefits of hormone-free Replens Moisturizer, which immediately soothes vaginal dryness for three full days per application.

The breast cancer drug, Tamoxifen causes dryness all over the hair, face, eyes, body and vagina. Replens is a wonderful alternative to hormone therapy and is used in clinical study protocols at major cancer institutions. I was treated at M.D. Anderson in Houston, I was given Tamoxifen and I know.

The outside of the vagina (or the vulva) can also be irritated, itchy, cracking and painful. Replens Moisture Restore External Comfort Gel rejuvenates vulvar cells, heals damage and reduces pain. And, because cancer, surgery, and treatments can cause painful sex and difficulty with arousal, loss of desire and inability to orgasm, a good silicone Lubricant like Replens Silky Smooth just before sex will ease penetration and abrasion. M.D. Anderson reports, “Women can use a water-based or silicone-based. . . lubricant during sex or use a vaginal moisturizer to counter dryness or tightness in the vagina caused by cancer treatment. For women who have had radiation therapy to the pelvic region, a vaginal dilator (I recommend Soul Source) can reduce vaginal scarring or shrinking.”

“In a randomized trial, a polycarbophil-based vaginal moisturizer available over the counter (Replens) provided relief of vaginal symptoms that was equivalent to that of vaginal estrogen. . .,” stated an article published in the Nov. 30, 2006 issue of New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) entitled “Management of Menopausal Symptoms,” by Deborah Grady, M.D., M.P.H. The NEJM article emphasizes to women that Replens is effective in treating vaginal dryness and it is an effective alternative to hormone therapy for feminine dryness.