Menopause Matters Forum

Menopause Discussion => All things menopause => Topic started by: Pinkprincess on September 09, 2017, 02:33:37 PM

Title: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 09, 2017, 02:33:37 PM
Hi everyone
 After going to my GP with itching, swelling, soreness, dryness etc of my vagina I was examined and prescribed Vagifem. I wasn't given a diagnosis of vaginal atrophy but I am sure that is what it is. The vagifem worked brilliantly but after the one course had been used the symptoms returned. I went back to the GP but was told I had to have a referral to the hospital because they can't keep prescribing it. I know this is bunkum and am seeing another GP on Friday. I was allowed (!) a second course and have been eeking it out and using twice a week but today I have itching around the clitoris area and it feels as if its slightly swollen and being irritated by my underwear. Is this part of VA? My inner lips have all but disappeared so I am thinking my clitoris may be more exposed if that makes sense? I bought some Vagisil to help with this. Because I had a week or so gap between the 1st course of Vagifem and starting the second course which I am only taking twice a week, should I really take a full course again? I am thinking the itching/tenderness may be because I am not using enough vagifem. Any help on this would be great. I am 59 by the way.
Pat x
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: sparkle on September 09, 2017, 03:09:28 PM
Hi Pinkprincess, I had exactly that this week.  I've been using Vagifem for a few months so now only use it twice a week.  I had the same feeling you describe so I tried a bit of Savlon on the sore area and it did the trick.  I think you're right, everything is a bit more exposed so probably more prone to irritation from underwear!

S x
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 09, 2017, 03:16:53 PM
Thank you sparkle I will try that. It's horrible isn't it. When I say I feel I have chapped lips I don't mean I need Chapstick :lol:
Pat x
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Maryjane on September 09, 2017, 03:24:24 PM
Pink princess as you say you no what you have been told is bunker.

Stopping and starting local oestrogen is so silly , you start it and stay on it for life as VA can't be cured only managed .

Glad the savlon helps 😊 It's a miserable condition.
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Joaniepat on September 09, 2017, 05:02:53 PM
Hello Pinkprincess,

So sorry to hear about your VA. I have also got this and it is a most unpleasant thing to have. It is no wonder your symptoms have returned if you have not been given enough Vagifem, so I hope you have better luck with the GP you see on Friday.

Assuming that Friday's GP is a bit more clued up, I would like to suggest that you ask for some Ovestin cream to rub in externally, alongside of the Vagifem for internal use. (I am using Ovestin both inside and out, and it seems to be working for me, although it has taken a few months.)

As to vaginal moisturisers, I believe the Yes products are supposed to be the kindest to the vulval and vaginal areas, and a lot of other ladies like Sylk. The one I have got is Yes VM and it works a treat. However, if Vagisil works for you then stick with it!

There is some shocking ignorance amongst the medical profession about this condition. I was originally sent down the dermatological route when mine first presented, which was fair enough I suppose. However, with the aid of the advice on MM, and reading the experiences of other VA sufferers on the forum, I was able to convince the dermatologist that my problem was due to oestrogen deficiency. I had already switched from hydrocortisone ointment to Ovestin with the approval of my GP, and she admitted this was the right thing to do. Even so, in a letter to my GP she expressed concern over the dosage I was on (3 week initial load up, then every third night, and externally as required), and stated that "the recommendation is to reduce to one application twice weekly and discontinue every 2-3 months for 4 weeks". Of course I wouldn't dream of doing any such thing. She had only to look up the NICE guidelines to see that one should not discontinue treatment.

So good luck on Friday Pinkprincess, I will have my fingers crossed for you.

Love,
JP
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: sparkle on September 09, 2017, 08:19:00 PM
Thank you sparkle I will try that. It's horrible isn't it. When I say I feel I have chapped lips I don't mean I need Chapstick :lol:
Pat x
;D might be worth a try!
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 09, 2017, 10:30:21 PM
Thank you sparkle I will try that. It's horrible isn't it. When I say I feel I have chapped lips I don't mean I need Chapstick :lol:
Pat x
;D might be worth a try!

Hahaha willing to try anything  ;)
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 09, 2017, 10:34:21 PM
Hello Pinkprincess,

So sorry to hear about your VA. I have also got this and it is a most unpleasant thing to have. It is no wonder your symptoms have returned if you have not been given enough Vagifem, so I hope you have better luck with the GP you see on Friday.

Assuming that Friday's GP is a bit more clued up, I would like to suggest that you ask for some Ovestin cream to rub in externally, alongside of the Vagifem for internal use. (I am using Ovestin both inside and out, and it seems to be working for me, although it has taken a few months.)

As to vaginal moisturisers, I believe the Yes products are supposed to be the kindest to the vulval and vaginal areas, and a lot of other ladies like Sylk. The one I have got is Yes VM and it works a treat. However, if Vagisil works for you then stick with it!

There is some shocking ignorance amongst the medical profession about this condition. I was originally sent down the dermatological route when mine first presented, which was fair enough I suppose. However, with the aid of the advice on MM, and reading the experiences of other VA sufferers on the forum, I was able to convince the dermatologist that my problem was due to oestrogen deficiency. I had already switched from hydrocortisone ointment to Ovestin with the approval of my GP, and she admitted this was the right thing to do. Even so, in a letter to my GP she expressed concern over the dosage I was on (3 week initial load up, then every third night, and externally as required), and stated that "the recommendation is to reduce to one application twice weekly and discontinue every 2-3 months for 4 weeks". Of course I wouldn't dream of doing any such thing. She had only to look up the NICE guidelines to see that one should not discontinue treatment.

So good luck on Friday Pinkprincess, I will have my fingers crossed for you.

Love,
JP

Thank you JP  :thankyou: I only have one box of Vagifem so am using it sparingly in case the GP won't give me another prescription. I hate hospitals so don't want to go to the gyno there as the first GP wants me to. I don't see why my own GP can't prescribe it. If forced to I will find a menopause clinic instead, but hope the GP on Friday will be more sympathetic!
Pat x
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Tinkerbell on September 10, 2017, 12:32:28 AM
You wouldn't believe what I have to throw at my bits to control the VA, I also had the battle to get the correct treatment, been told so much rubbish along the way!
Anyway to control mine I am on systemic HRT, Vagifem every night and Ovestin cream about four times a week, my only meno symptom has been the dreaded VA.
Please don't take no for an answer at your next appointment, VA needs ongoing treatment, I never cease to be amazed by the lack of knowledge GP's have, I have also been told a load of nonsense by a gynaecologist who was supposed to be a meno expert  :-\
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 10, 2017, 01:42:22 AM
I never thought I would be on a forum talking with gay abandon about my lady garden   ;D but thank goodness for this website!
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: sparkle on September 10, 2017, 06:30:38 AM
 ;D Neither did I !!!
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Wrensong on September 10, 2017, 09:29:09 AM
I often have to take a deep breath before posting  :o, but try to remember how much others' candid posts have helped me!
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: ancient runner on September 11, 2017, 03:56:26 PM
Me too Tinkerbell.  :(
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: CLKD on September 11, 2017, 09:31:10 PM
Maybe see your Practice Nurse or ask your local Pharmacist which Surgery supports HRT the 'best' in your area  ;)

For me it was like razor blades up there  :o but my GP recognised repeat of urine infection-type symptoms and prescribed/s without any problems.

Your GP is talking .......  :-X
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Suzi Q on September 13, 2017, 03:37:17 PM
Hi everyone
 After going to my GP with itching, swelling, soreness, dryness etc of my vagina I was examined and prescribed Vagifem. I wasn't given a diagnosis of vaginal atrophy but I am sure that is what it is. The vagifem worked brilliantly but after the one course had been used the symptoms returned. I went back to the GP but was told I had to have a referral to the hospital because they can't keep prescribing it. I know this is bunkum and am seeing another GP on Friday. I was allowed (!) a second course and have been eeking it out and using twice a week but today I have itching around the clitoris area and it feels as if its slightly swollen and being irritated by my underwear. Is this part of VA? My inner lips have all but disappeared so I am thinking my clitoris may be more exposed if that makes sense? I bought some Vagisil to help with this. Because I had a week or so gap between the 1st course of Vagifem and starting the second course which I am only taking twice a week, should I really take a full course again? I am thinking the itching/tenderness may be because I am not using enough vagifem. Any help on this would be great. I am 59 by the way.
Pat x

Im sorry its a load of rubbish. Is the practise a trust? If it is it might be to do with s
You can use Vagifem for life. As long as you have no side effects.
1 year of Vagifem 3 times a week is the equivalent of 3 Hrt pills.
Vagifem goes 99.9% into the vagina not in the blood stream
My gp gives me vagifem 1 a night as 2 3 or 4 a weeks not enough.
And hes a great gp
Print out the information on Vagifem and take it to your gp
If you have Atrophy which sound exactly what you have . Treatments constant Vagifem x
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 15, 2017, 08:52:45 AM
So,just back from my GP and she is still saying I have to see a gynae at the hospital before they will prescribe long term Vagifem. She said it was because if you have a womb and they give you an oestrogen only thing it can cause cancer of the uterus so they have to have the hospitals say so and they need to make sure "nothing else is going on". I told her the dryness and itching had gone away with the vagifem and that lots of women on menopause sites are saying it is such a low dose and safe to use long term she said some of it goes into your blood stream. I said I didn't like hospitals and she said it's only an out patients appt and If I ended up with uterine cancer I would then be having operations/chemo so it was better to make sure and go to see a gynae before taking it. She has now made me fearful of using it but I can't bear to put up with the soreness and itching. Looks like I will have to go .... :(
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: greenECLECtus28 on September 15, 2017, 09:23:42 AM
I too was under the impression it was relatively safe as it's not like taking oestrogen orally and only a tiny amount is absorbed in to the bloodstream as has already been said most of it is topical.

I have just been prescribed this by a Urology consultant I went to see because of repeated UTI's that I can't seem to shift I haven't seen a gynaecologist and he didn't suggest I needed to see one first he prescribed it himself I guess GP's like any medical professional have to be aware of your full medical history is there something that is making her make this decision or maybe she just feels she doesn't know enough about it and is erring on the side of caution. if she isn't willing to prescribe it for whatever reason at least at a Gynaecologist you will be able to discuss things fully with a professional in that field and you will probably find if they don't have any issues with you using it they will give you it no problem let your GP know this and hopefully you won't have any further issues getting/using it.

Hope it gets sorted soon for you
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Joaniepat on September 15, 2017, 10:10:15 AM
So sorry to hear your GP was uncooperative and out of date with her information. It is a bit over the top to scare people with talk of uterine cancer when all they want is some localised oestrogen. Did she give you a referral to a gynae or menopause clinic or have you got to sort that out yourself?
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 15, 2017, 12:12:52 PM
She has referred me I have to ring to book. I have a phobia about hospitals and when I said that she basically said it's only an out patients appt and rather that than be at risk of getting cancer. She said she has to get the hospitals say so before prescribing long term
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Tinkerbell on September 15, 2017, 01:44:41 PM
She is talking absolute rubbish, even using Vagifem every day for a year is equivalent to just one oral HRT tablet a year...told that by the gynaecologist I saw.
I would either see another GP or keep your hospital appointment, VA gets worse and you need regular long term treatment.
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Herdwick on September 15, 2017, 03:55:45 PM
Can't believe what you have been through. To have a GP saying things like that to you Pinkprincess is awful.  My GP was much more understanding and was the one to suggest VA because of repeated UTI's and recommended this site to see what other ladies were saying. The urologist who did my cystoscopy also said he would have recommended the VA. I hope your Appointment goes okay and you get a more positive outcome
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 15, 2017, 05:28:14 PM
Thank you all. She has made me scared of taking it now as she said it goes into your system. She didn't like the fact I mentioned looking on this site and having people give me info. I took no HRT through the menopause at all. She made it sound like giving oestrogen only was the work of the devil! So, I will have to get the courage up to go to the hospital, I have a bit of a phobia and am not looking forward to being examined  :-\

Pat
Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Hurdity on September 15, 2017, 05:41:27 PM
This sounds terrible - yet another ignorant doctor! I realise she has your best interests at heart but she sounds like my GP who said I shouldn't be on HRT at my age (over 60) as it can only lead to cancer - and as I was consulting her about pelvic pain she said " Let's hope it hasn't already" !!!!! Needless to say I never went to her again!

I agree with Tinkerbell - I would find out which doctor at the practice knows about HRT and menopause and then go to that one before making the hospital appointment. If you have had no bleeding nor anything (in your medical history or symptoms) that suggests you need a specialist referral then I would resist this.  Although normally I would say why not just go - as it's always better to take up the offer of a check-up when offered - in your position and with your phobia - if it is really unnecessary then you don't need to go through this.

If you would like the information we can point you to the NICE Guidelines and all the recommendations which say that long term vaginal oestrogen is fine without progestogenic opposition. I am shocked that a GP does not know this when it must be prescribed daily to thousands of women! In any case local oestrogen doesn't count as hRT - however the warnings on the prescribing information are sadly the same as for full systemic HRT - which is part of the problem for doctors who know very little about it and if they read it as gospel....

As a start the information on this website (written by Dr Heather Currie, leading gynaecologist and former Chair of British Menopause Society) says this:

Low dose vaginal estrogen preparations can be used long term without causing any known systemic effect, and without needing any progestogenic protection of the lining of the womb.

https://www.menopausematters.co.uk/dryness.php

Hurdity x


Title: Re: Help with Vagifem
Post by: Pinkprincess on September 15, 2017, 06:16:01 PM
Thank you Hurdity. I am going to look into maybe finding a menopause clinic or a well woman clinic before making the appointment. Someone kindly messaged me and asked about being checked for lichen sclerosis but I assume that the symptoms of that wouldn't go away with Vagifem  as mine did? Looking at the symptoms of vaginal atrophy it is me to a T. I took no HRT through the menopause, I haven't had a period for at least 5 years and have no history of pain/bleeding etc. I just assumed the Vagifem would just be prescribed.
Pat x