The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in a new Committee Opinion, “The Use of Vaginal Estrogen in Women with a History of Estrogen-Dependent Breast Cancer,” outlines the options and treatments for female-specific survivorship issues. One particular challenge for providers to understand and address are vaginal symptoms of menopause, whether naturally occurring or treatment-induced.
“Among women with a history of estrogen-dependent breast cancer who are experiencing urogenital symptoms, vaginal estrogen should be reserved for those patients who are unresponsive to nonhormonal remedies. The decision to use vaginal estrogen may be made in coordination with a woman’s oncologist. Additionally, it should be preceded by an informed decision-making and consent process in which the woman has the information and resources to consider the benefits and potential risks of low-dose vaginal estrogen. Data do not show an increased risk of cancer recurrence among women currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer or those with a personal history of breast cancer who use vaginal estrogen to relieve urogenital symptoms.”
Here is the layperson (you know what I mean!) explanation of urogenital symptoms: the need to urinate more frequently, the inability to control urination (incontinence), dryness and itching in the vagina, increased urinary tract infections (hate it!), painful sex (no fun), and dry vagina (fat and plump are in for the vagina).
The good news! There is no need to “just live with it.”
Talk to your menopause specialist about LET (local estrogen therapy) if you are experiencing any of these issues.
My Motto: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!