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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Aug;64(2):204-10.

The use of two estrogen preparations (a combined contraceptive pill versus conjugated estrogen cream) intravaginally to treat urogenital symptoms in postmenopausal Thai women: a comparative study.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, and the Institute of Health Research, Chulalongkorn University, and the BNH Hospital.



To determine whether the combined contraceptive pill used intravaginally was as effective as the standard conjugated estrogen cream for the treatment of urogenital symptoms in postmenopausal Thai women.


In a randomized clinical trial, 40 postmenopausal women with urogenital symptoms were randomly allocated to two treatment groups for 8 weeks. The first group (n = 20) received a combined contraceptive pill by the vaginal route, one tablet per week at bedtime for 8 weeks. Each tablet contained 250 microg levonorgestrel plus 30 microg ethinyl estradiol. The second group (n = 20) was given 1 gm of an intravaginal conjugated estrogen cream at bedtime, three times in the first week, twice in the second week, and then once a week for the next 6 weeks (1 gram of conjugated estrogen cream contained 0.625 mg conjugated equine estrogens). Subjects were questioned about their urogenital symptoms, and vaginal cytologic smears, vaginal bacterial cultures, and urine cultures were performed before treatment and after 2, 4, and 8 weeks of therapy.


The vaginal pH and the proportion of the fecal type bacteria decreased in both groups, with no statistically significant difference between the groups. The karyopyknotic index and the maturation index were improved during treatment in both groups. An increase in the proportion of lactobacilli were recorded in both groups after therapy, with no significant difference between the two groups. No significant changes were observed in urinary bacteria. The therapy (combined contraceptive pill and estrogen cream) had a marked effect on urogenital symptoms (vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency), with impressive improvement comparably in both groups.


A combined contraceptive tablet administered vaginally once a week can alleviate urogenital symptoms in Thai postmenopausal women as effectively as the vaginal estrogen cream. However, the pills are much less expensive and are easily obtained in developing countries.


A randomized clinical trial conducted in Bangkok, Thailand, investigated whether intravaginal use of a combined oral contraceptive (OC) is as effective for the treatment of urogenital symptoms in postmenopausal women as the standard regimen of conjugated estrogen cream. 40 postmenopausal women (mean age, 54 years) with urogenital symptoms related to estrogen deficiency were allocated to one of two treatment groups for 8 weeks. The first 20 women received one OC (250 mcg of levonorgestrel and 30 mcg of ethinyl estradiol) per week; the remaining 20 women were given estrogen cream (0.625 mg conjugated equine estrogens) at bedtime 3 times in the 1st week, twice in the 2nd week, and weekly for the last 6 weeks. Vaginal pH and the proportion of fecal-type bacteria decreased, the karyopyknotic and maturation indices improved, and the proportion of vaginal colonization with lactobacilli increased in both groups, with no significant differences between treatments. Also recorded in both groups were impressive improvements in vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency. No significant changes were observed in urinary bacteria. Combined OCs are less expensive than vaginal estrogen cream and more readily available in developing countries. Since they are as effective as the cream at alleviating urogenital symptoms in postmenopausal women, their use for this purpose merits consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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