chamomile gel as effective as estrogen for vaginal atrophy and painful sexual intercourse after menopause

Menopause can bring with it vaginal atrophy, or vaginal thinning and dryness, which causes pain during sex, burning and the urgent need to urinate. A safe, simple chamomile cream can help.

After menopause, there is no longer enough estrogen to produce the cells that line the vagina or to maintain moisture. This condition, known as vaginal atrophy, can cause intercourse to become painful and unpleasant after menopause.

This double-blind study gave 89 menopausal women either a placebo gel, an estrogen vaginal cream or a chamomile vaginal gel. The chamomile vaginal gel was 5% chamomile. All the women in the study had vaginal atrophy and they all experienced painful intercourse. For the first two weeks, they each applied 1g nightly. For the next ten weeks, they applied 1g twice a week.

At the start of the study, 9 women in the chamomile group had severe pain with intercourse, 16 had moderate pain and 5 had mild pain. After only two weeks, none had severe pain, 9 had moderate pain, 12 had mild pain and 9 no longer experienced any pain. Those results were significantly better than the results in the placebo group. By the end of the 12 weeks, one woman in the chamomile group had mild pain, and 29 had none. Those results were similar to the estrogen cream group and significantly better than placebo.

Scores for sexual satisfaction improved in both the chamomile gel and the estrogen cream group and there was no significant difference, but both were significantly better than placebo.

This study suggests that a chamomile vaginal gel is as effective as estrogen cream for reducing painful sexual intercourse and increasing sexual satisfaction in postmenopausal women.


Avicenna J Phytomed. September-October 2020;10(5):481-491


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For much more on treating menopause and vaginal atrophy naturally, see our Sex & Fertility: Natural Solutions.

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