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J Clin Pathol. 2002 Jun;55(6):446-51.

The effect of Replens on vaginal cytology in the treatment of postmenopausal atrophy: cytomorphology versus computerised cytometry.

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Department of Pathology, University Medical Center, St Radboud, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands.



After the menopause decreased concentrations of oestrogen may result in insufficient maturation of the vaginal epithelium, which can lead to a range of vaginal discomforts. This state of vaginal atrophy may be treated with oestrogen replacement treatment. Replens, a non-hormonal alternative to oestrogen replacement treatment has been shown to be effective in relieving symptoms related to vaginal atrophy in previous studies.


To study the effect of Replens on the maturation of the vaginal epithelium and morphology of the vaginal cells and to compare the results of a recently developed cytomorphometric method with manual assessment of the degree of maturation in vaginal smears.


Vaginal smears from 38 postmenopausal women suffering from symptoms related to vaginal atrophy were analysed manually and by cytomorphometry. The maturation value (MV) and the percentages of (para)basal, intermediate, and superficial cells (maturation index; MI) were measured by both methods before and after treatment with Replens. Cytomorphometry also measured mean cellular area, mean nuclear area, and mean area ratio.


A correlation was shown between the two methods in the assessment of percentages of (para) basal and intermediate cells and MV. Cytomorphometric data showed a significant increase in mean cellular area, indicating a positive effect of Replens on the maturation of the vaginal epithelium. Changes in nuclear area and ratio between nuclear and cellular areas were not significant. Treatment with Replens did not influence MI or MV, as assessed by the two methods.


Replens did have an effect on vaginal morphology. The automated procedure may be useful for the assessment of maturation in vaginal smears and is more sensitive to small (subvisual) changes.

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