Ospemifene improves painful sex for post-menopausal women

Ospemifene Benefits Post-Menopausal Women

A woman’s body goes through many changes during menopause, and the drop in estrogen can leave her vagina dry and brittle, making sex uncomfortable.

However, some women benefit from a drug called ospemifene, which helps restore the health of genital tissue.

A new Sexual Medicine report discusses the results of 8 women who took ospemifene for 20 weeks. Researchers found after treatment, the women’s sexual function had improved.

A drug called ospemifene can improve genital tissue and sexual function in postmenopausal women, according to new research in Sexual Medicine.

The drug, marketed under the brand name Osphena, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 to treat moderate to severe dyspareunia – painful intercourse – in women past menopause.

Painful sex is a common problem after menopause. Estrogen is essential for keeping the vagina moist and flexible. Production of this hormone declines dramatically at menopause, and many women experience vaginal dryness and sexual discomfort as a result.

Ospemifene works like estrogen, restoring vaginal tissues.

In the current study, researchers assessed genital changes, along with pain and sexual function, in a group of eight women who took ospemifene for 20 weeks. All the women were postmenopausal, and their average age was 59 years. They reported moderate to severe sexual pain.

Each woman underwent a physical exam. To assess visual changes in the genitals, the researchers used a device called a vulvoscope, which allows users to view magnified images of the vulva on a computer screen. It also takes pictures. The researchers also tested for pain by pressing a cotton swab against different areas of the vulva.

Finally, the women used diaries to record information on their sexual function, including vaginal dryness, use of lubricants, and any pain during foreplay, masturbation, oral sex, and intercourse.

Assessments were made at the start of the study and at the end, after 20 weeks of ospemifene treatment.

From the photographs, the researchers determined that the women’s genitals appeared healthier after taking ospemifene. The women’s pain levels decreased after treatment, too.

After 20 weeks, the women reported having more sex, with less pain during foreplay and intercourse. They used lubricants less often.

The results were promising, but the authors explained that other factors, not just hormones, can be involved with painful intercourse. For example, pelvic floor dysfunction, partner conflict, and depression might play a role, too. Sometimes, sexual pain has more than one cause and may need other treatments, like pelvic floor physical therapy, counseling, or sex therapy.

The authors also acknowledged that their research was limited by a small study sample.





“Osphena Approved to Treat Painful Sex”

(April 9, 2013)


“Ospemifene May Ease Menopause Symptoms Beyond Painful Intercourse”

Sexual Medicine

Goldstein, Sue W., BA, CCRC, CSE, IF, et al.

“Improvements to the Vulva, Vestibule, Urethral Meatus, and Vagina in Women Treated With Ospemifene for Moderate to Severe Dyspareunia: A Prospective Vulvoscopic Pilot Study”

(Full-text. Published online: April 17, 2018)