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The new gel treatment that boosts a woman’s sex life after the menopause

Jenny Hope.
The new gel treatment that boosts a woman’s sex life after the menopause
  • VagiCap is a tear-shaped capsule designed to be inserted into the vagina
  • It raised the number of women getting sexual satisfaction by a third
  • Over half of postmenopausal women suffer dryness – making sex painful

A new once-daily hormone treatment has boosted the sex lives of older women.Using VagiCap increased by a third the number of women getting sexual satisfaction, say findings from a trial.

The treatment, which is not yet available, is aimed at women who experience pain during sex and other symptoms caused by the menopause.

More than half of post-menopausal women suffer vaginal dryness that can make sex uncomfortable because of a lack of the hormone oestrogen.

The new treatment is a tear-shaped softgel capsule designed for easy insertion once a day, alleviating local symptoms.
However, the oestrogen has less effect throughout the body than hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which should lessen any side effects.

Dr Sheryl Kingsberg, chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine Department at UH Case Medical Center in Cleveland, presented the trial at the International Society of Women’s Sexual Health Annual Meeting, in Austin, Texas.

Dr Kingsberg said: ‘Menopause is typically associated with hot flashes (flushes), but there are other common and distressing symptoms such as pain and discomfort during sex due to lack of oestrogen.

‘Approximately 30 million women in the United States experience this condition, which can really impact their quality of life.’

She said the VagiCap, if approved by regulatory authorities, could be a treatment that women ‘may find to be convenient and easy to use’.

At least half of menopausal women experience uncomfortable, often distressing symptoms such as dryness -making sex painful

In the UK, the average age of the menopause is 51 years, when periods stop and oestrogen hormone levels decline.

Research earlier this week found at least half of menopausal women experienced uncomfortable, often distressing symptoms for more than seven years on average and often much longer.

The latest study involved women between the ages of 40-75 who were assigned to use the VagiCap once daily – usually at the same time in the morning – or a placebo (dummy) treatment.

A qualitative survey by the researchers found that 63 per cent of women on the VagiCap reported an improvement in quality of life after only two weeks of therapy treatment, compared to 48 per cent on the placebo.

Dr Kingsberg said: ‘For many women, symptoms such as these have a major impact on frequency and spontaneity of their sexual activity.

‘It is essential that health care attendants routinely engage in open and sensitive discussions with postmenopausal women to ensure that symptomatic atrophy is detected early and appropriately managed.’

New treatment options have the potential to improve satisfaction for these women, she said.

‘There is medical consensus that oestrogen administered locally is the preferred mode of treatment for both symptom reduction and restoring and maintaining healthy vaginal tissue and sexual function’ she added.

TherapeuticsM, manufacturers of the VagiCap, began a phase three trial in September 2014 which is investigating 4 mcg, 10 mcg and 25 mcg doses of oestrogen as different options to meet women’s treatment needs.

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