Background: Menopause is associated with various complications such as depression, sleep disorders, and genitourinary atrophy. Vaginal atrophy occurs due to the loss of steroid hormones, and its major symptoms include vaginal dryness, itching, dyspareunia, and bleeding after intercourse. According to the literature, vitamin E plays a key role in estrogen stability. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of vitamin E suppositories and conjugated estrogen vaginal cream on vaginal atrophy.
Materials and methods: In this clinical trial, 52 postmenopausal women, who were referred to a gynecology clinic in 2013, were recruited and randomly divided into two groups (26 cases per group). One group received 100 IU of vitamin E suppositories (n = 26), whereas the other group applied 0.5 g of conjugated estrogen cream for 12 weeks. Vaginal maturation value (VMV) was compared between the two groups before and after the intervention. VMV ≤ 55 was regarded as a cut-off point for vaginal atrophy. Treatment success was defined as a 10-unit increase in VMV, compared to the baseline value. Data were analyzed by Friedman test and Mann-Whitney test. P value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: The mean VMV in the vitamin E group before the treatment and after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment was 43.78 ± 13.75, 69.07 ± 22.75, 77.86 ± 21.79, and 80.59 ± 19.23, respectively. The corresponding values in the estrogen cream group were 42.86 ± 14.40, 86.98 ± 12.58, 92.65 ± 15, and 91.57 ± 14.10, respectively. VMV significantly improved in both the treatment groups after the intervention, compared to the preintervention period (P < 0.001). Treatment success was reported in both groups, although estrogen cream (100%) appeared to be more effective after 4 weeks of treatment, compared to vitamin E suppositories (76.9%) (P = 0.01).
Conclusions: Based on the findings, use of vitamin E suppositories could improve the laboratory criteria for vaginal atrophy and treatment success. Therefore, vitamin E suppositories are suggested for relieving the symptoms of vaginal atrophy, especially in women who are unable to use hormone therapy or cope with the associated side effects.
Keywords: Conjugated estrogen; vaginal atrophy; vitamin E.