Concerns about menopause onset

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY

January 16, 2000|By Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon | Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon,Special to the Sun; King Features Syndicate

Q. I have a dilemma. I am 48 and getting close to menopause. For the past year or so, I have been experiencing vaginal dryness during intercourse.

My problem is that I am very susceptible to yeast infections. We have tried nearly every vaginal dryness product on the market (Astroglide, K-Y Jelly, even olive oil), but every one has given me a yeast infection.

I thought of using over-the-counter yeast infection creams, but some of them have a topical anesthetic to help deaden the itching and stinging. I fear this may deaden other feelings as well. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Please consult a physician about your frequent yeast infections. It is unusual to be so susceptible, and your doctor needs to rule out an underlying health problem.

Vaginal yeast creams such as butoconazole (Femstat 3, Mycelex 3), clotrimazole (Gyne-Lotrimin 3-Day, Mycelex 7), miconazole (Monistat 7), and tioconazole (Vagistat-1) do not contain local anesthetics and shouldn't interfere with sexual sensation. Many of these products contain oils or other moisturizers, so they might work for vaginal lubrication. They should not be used with condoms or diaphragms, however.

We have heard that vitamin E oil offers satisfactory lubrication when applied topically to either partner. A capsule can also be inserted as a vaginal suppository and allowed to dissolve.

Before using vitamin E oil, please test it on a small spot on the inside of your forearm or elbow for several days. Some people develop an itchy rash when their skin is exposed to vitamin E.

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