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Vaginal Estrogen Could Be a Menopause Management Option for Women with Breast Cancer

Oct 24, 2017

Vaginal Estrogen Could Be a Menopause Management Option for Women with Breast CancerVaginal estrogen might be an appropriate way to treat menopausal symptoms in some women with a history of breast cancer, according to a Committee Opinion statement from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

At menopause, a woman’s body produces less estrogen, the female sex hormone. Among other roles, estrogen is essential for vaginal health; it keeps the vagina moist and flexible. Without it, the vagina can become dry and brittle. Menopausal women often have pain during intercourse because of poor vaginal lubrication. They may also have urinary trouble, too.

In North America, the average age of menopause is 51, but cancer treatments can induce menopause much earlier. Chemotherapy may damage the ovaries, the glands that produce estrogen. If the ovaries are surgically removed, menopause will occur immediately.

Some types of breast cancer are fueled by estrogen. Treatment may involve the temporary shutdown of the ovaries through medication so that less estrogen will be available to feed the cancer cells. Some women have their ovaries removed for the same reason.

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