During menopause, the estrogen in the body becomes erratic and, in turn, the body starts to act in unusual and sometimes distressing ways. The effects of this hormone imbalance are better known as the symptoms of menopause and these symptoms will vary in severity from woman to woman.
Women often find it difficult to cope with these symptoms, because of the disturbances they cause to everyday life; this can continue into postmenopause when estrogen levels have decreased significantly. Fortunately, estrogen levels can be balanced by using a form of estrogen replacement therapy. The vaginal estrogen ring is one method of choice. Keep reading to find out more.
What Is it?
The vaginal estrogen ring is a method of estrogen replacement therapy for women and it is used to treat the symptoms of menopause. Although it will provide estrogen for the body via the genital area, it is likely to be more effective in managing vaginal and urinary symptoms. It is a vaginal insert which is usually made of rubber and is usually about two inches in diameter. The ring is placed high into the vagina and, in most cases, does not cause discomfort.
How Does it Work?
The ring is placed high into the vagina and this can be done by your doctor or by you. The estrogen is released slowly from the core of the ring over the course of a three month period. The ring works by releasing estrogen, usually in the form of estradiol, into the bloodstream. Naturally, it increases estrogen levels and minimizes some menopause symptoms.
How Long Does it Work for?
The vaginal estrogen ring should be changed every three months, but it won't need to be taken out prior to the conclusion of this time. It doesn't interfere with any everyday activity like exercise or sexual intercourse, although if it does cause discomfort during sex then you can take it out and replace it afterwards. If you do this be sure to rinse it under lukewarm water before placing it back into the vagina. After the 90 days, you should talk to your doctor about whether you need to continue with the treatment and have another ring put in.
What Are its Benefits?
The main benefit is that it is an effective way of rebalancing hormones in the body and particularly useful in relieving symptoms like vaginal dryness. Doctors also consider it a fairly risk-free treatment, if used on a short-term basis; it only releases about one-tenth of the amount of estrogen that creams, patches, and tablets do. It is easy to use and doesn't require you to attend to it every day. Finally, the ring is unlikely to affect or be affected by other medication, because the dosage is small and is absorbed straight into the bloodstream.
What Are its Drawbacks?
Unfortunately, like most hormone replacement therapies, the ring has its drawbacks. Firstly, it takes some getting used to. The ring can move if you strain during bowel movement, and can sometimes be felt by you or your partner during sex. On occasion you may need to adjust the ring yourself. The ring should not be used by women who have had, or still have reproductive cancer, a cardiovascular disease or if they are prone to high calcium levels.
Everyone should get advice from their doctor prior to weighing it's the benefits and disadvantages of the vaginal estrogen ring. It is important that your doctor checks your medical background before you decide that estrogen ring is for you. It is not advised for women who are pregnant. Follow this link to read about alternative treatments for estrogen imbalance.