Pain during intercourse as a result of thinning vaginal walls is one of those post-menopause "secrets" that women rarely talk about. Just as erectile dysfunction was not openly discussed in the past—15 years after the introduction of Viagra, the topic is no longer taboo.
Is the introduction of Osphena (just approved by the FDA) on track to change the dialogue and lifestyle of middle-aged women just as Viagra did for men?
Fifteen years after Viagra was introduced, the first FDA-approved medication to improve women's sexual health has been released. Called Ospemifene (Osphena), the drug is being described as a relief from discomfort and pain during intercourse, which can occur in women in menopause or post-menopause as a result to a decrease in hormones.
This is the first medication to treat sexual arousal for women approved by the FDA and the clinical trials have been very promising. During menopause, vaginal tissue thins out and becomes drier due to the decrease in hormones. Osphena, a pill taken with food once daily, acts like estrogen on vaginal tissues to make them thicker and less fragile, which should reduce in the amount of pain women experience during sexual intercourse.
"This medication is a first in our history approved by the FDA for women and will open many doors for new treatments for painful intercourse and arousal in women," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, medical director of the sexual medicine program at Alvarado Hospital. "Sexual dysfunction can impact a woman's relationship and overall life—so this breakthrough is as welcome as Viagra was for men."
He added that there are approximately 50 million women in the U.S. going through menopause. An oral drug taken once a day, Osphena, makes vaginal tissue thicker and less fragile, resulting in less pain for women during sex. The FDA warns that Osphena can thicken the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and raise the risk of stroke and blood clots.