Q & A Library
Alternatives to Prescription Estrogen Cream?
Is there an alternative to Premarin vaginal cream? It has helped eliminate frequent bladder irritation/infection after sex, but I would prefer to use something else.
Answer (Published 3/26/2002)
Premarin vaginal cream is a prescription product designed for women whose estrogen levels are low, as they are after menopause. I'm assuming that your bladder irritation and infections stem from post-menopausal vaginal dryness, a common cause of these problems. You could try cutting back on the dosage if you're concerned about reliance on the drug, but there are alternatives you can explore.
My colleague Ann L. Mattson, MD, medical director of the Boulder Valley Women's Health Center in Colorado and an associate fellow at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine here at the University of Arizona, suggests the following non-prescription options which she says have been shown to be helpful in reducing the vaginal dryness that occurs with menopause and should indirectly improve bladder symptoms associated with intercourse:
You can also minimize the chances of developing bladder problems by emptying your bladder before and after intercourse. To reduce the risk of recurrent bladder infections, increase your water intake and drink three ounces of cranberry juice per day or take one 500mg tablet of cranberry juice supplement daily.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
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