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Estriol Cream

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Estriol is a form of hormonal replacement therapy, used to relieve vaginal symptoms caused by menopause. It works by replacing oestrogen that your body is not making enough of.
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Estriol Cream

What is Estriol Cream?

Estriol vaginal cream is a form of hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. Hormone replacement therapy is designed to treat symptoms of menopause, by replacing the hormones your body is now making at lower levels.

Specifically, Estriol is a cream used to treat vaginal problems caused by a lack of oestrogen in the body. This is called vaginal atrophy, and can include vaginal dryness and uncomfortable sexual intercourse.

Estriol cream is usually prescribed to you by a pharmacist or doctor. Alternatively, we can prescribe it to you following an online consultation. Contact us to find out more.

Estriol is the active ingredient in this medication. Estriol cream is also known under the brand names Gynest and Ovestin.

For more information on Estriol cream, consult the patient information leaflet.

How it works

As women age, the amount of oestrogen they produce decreases. Oestrogen is the primary female sex hormone, and promotes the development and maintenance of female characteristics in the body. A lack of oestrogen can cause numerous unwanted symptoms.

Estriol cream is a medication to treat vaginal issues caused by low oestrogen levels. It is applied locally to the vagina and will boost the level of oestrogen in the body, ensuring better vaginal lubrication. This will make sexual intercourse less painful and can reduce your risk of developing certain infections, such as UTIs.

Estriol cream is applied inside the vagina using an applicator. It can take several months to see an improvement to your conditions.

Before you take it

Estriol cream contains peanut oil. You should not use Estriol cream if you are allergic to peanuts. You must consult your doctor in this case, who will be able to recommend an alternative method of HRT. You must also not use Estriol cream if you are allergic to any of the other ingredients, including benzoic acid, arachis oil or the active ingredient Estriol.

Estriol is safe to take long term to help your menopause symptoms improve.

Do not use Estriol cream if you are pregnant. This is because it may harm your unborn baby. You should ask your doctor for advice if you are pregnant and want to take any type of hormone replacement therapy. You should also not use it if you are breastfeeding.

If you become pregnant while taking Estriol cream, speak with your doctor. Estriol should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.

You should speak with your doctor if you have experienced a growth of the womb lining inside or outside of the womb (fibroids or endometriosis). You may require more frequent monitoring by your doctor while using Estriol cream. The endometrial safety of long term or repeated use of topical vaginal creams such as Estriol cream has not yet been established.

Estriol cream should not be used in conjunction with barrier methods of contraception, such as condoms. This is because Estriol cream is oil-based, and there is an excess risk that oils can damage latex and rubber-based materials. This may result in a condom tearing or splitting. You should use a method of hormonal contraception if you want to avoid pregnancy.

If you have any of the following conditions, Estriol cream may be unsuitable for you. Make sure you consult with your doctor before taking Estriol.

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Endometrial cancer or endometrial hyperplasia
  • A history of cancer related to oestrogen
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Liver problems
  • SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus)

Estriol cream may cause an increased risk of developing a blood clot, especially within the first year of taking it. A blood clot is rare, affecting around 8 in 1000 women who take Estriol cream, but if this concerns you, you should speak with your doctor to discuss an alternative treatment. A blood clot that is left untreated can lead to a pulmonary embolism and in some cases can even be fatal.

In some cases Estriol cream increases the risk of breast cancer. Your doctor will need to see you regularly for check ups, and this may include examinations of your breasts or performing a cervical smear test to assess your risk of ovarian cancer. You should monitor your breasts for abnormalities and if you find anything unusual, report it to your doctor.

Oestrogen only HRT such as Estriol cream may interact with other medications. These may include:

  • Drugs used to treat epilepsy such as carbamazepine
  • Medication to treat infections such as rifampicin and rifabutin
  • Medication for HIV treatment such as rifabutin
  • St John’s Wort to treat depression
  • Bosentan for high blood pressure

This is not an exhaustive list of drug interactions or warnings. For a full list, consult the patient information leaflet or speak with your doctor.

Dosage Instructions

Estriol cream must be used exactly as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. Never use more than you have been told to. If you are in any way unsure, see your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Estriol or Gynest cream should be applied to the vagina. There is an applicator included with your medication. Detailed information on how to use the applicator is contained within the patient information leaflet.

Estriol cream must never be applied to the skin, or ingested through the mouth.

Squeeze the tube of Estriol cream until the applicator barrel is filled with cream. Lie down with your legs apart and insert the open end of the applicator into your vagina to apply the cream. Remove the applicator when the cream has been applied and wash it in warm water.

Store Estriol cream at room temperature, in a cool, dry place away from heat and moisture. Keep it out of the reach and sight of children and pets.

Common Side Effects of Estriol Cream

Like any medication, there is a risk that you may experience side effects when using Estriol cream. Not everyone will experience them, and for those that do, they are usually mild to moderate in nature and will go away on their own as your body becomes used to the medication. Possible side effects may include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Breakthrough vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Migraine or severe headaches
  • Depression
  • Palpitations

More serious side effects caused by Estriol are also possible. These are rare, but if you experience them you should first speak to your doctor to discuss whether Estriol is suitable for you. They include:

  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes or skin
  • Deep vein thrombosis, heart attack or stroke (in this case you must immediately call for an ambulance)
  • High blood pressure
  • Cancer risk
  • Unusually severe migraines
  • Disturbed or blurred vision
  • Painful urination or cystitis

It’s also possible for Estriol to cause a severe allergic reaction. This is very rare, but any allergic reaction is an emergency and if you believe you are having an allergic reaction you must immediately seek medical help. Symptoms include:

  • Hives or nettle rash
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness of the chest or throat
  • Swelling of the face, throat, mouth, tongue or eyelids

This is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects. For a full list, consult the patient information leaflet or speak with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do I need to take Estriol?

This depends on your symptoms. Your doctor will regularly assess whether Estriol cream is suitable for you, and if necessary they will tell you to stop taking it. Your symptoms will come back when you stop using Estriol cream - it is not a permanent solution to menopausal problems. Discuss with your doctor for more information.

I’m pregnant. Can I take Estriol cream?

No. Do not take Estriol cream if you are pregnant. It may harm an unborn baby. If you become pregnant when taking Estriol cream, stop taking it and speak with your doctor.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Simply take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take more than one dose of Estriol cream per day. Never take twice the amount in one go to make up for a missed dose.

What happens if I take too much?

If you have taken too much Estriol cream, wash it out as much as you can. Too much Estriol cream can cause breast tenderness, nausea, bleeding or spotting and abdominal cramps or bloating. Speak with your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

More Information
Dosage Instructions Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.