Ovestin is a vaginal oestrogen. This is not considered hormone replacement therapy, as only small amounts of oestrogen are released into the bloodstream, but it will relieve the local symptoms caused by the menopause. Ovestin comes in the form of a cream to be applied to the vagina, which contain a naturally occurring form of oestrogen, estriol.
When you apply Ovestin, small amounts of oestrogen are released locally into the vaginal tissues. Ovestin is to be used short-term to provide relief from:
- itching or irritation (atrophic vaginitis).
This, in turn, should help prevent sex from becoming uncomfortable and painful. Supplementing local oestrogen will also reduce your susceptibility to vaginal or urinary infections.
You can also use Ovestin to treat the vaginal tissues before and after vaginal surgery, e.g. for vaginal prolapse.
You may need to use Ovestin for several days or weeks before you notice an improvement. To minimise the absorption of this medicine, the lowest dose to control symptoms should be used, and treatment should be stopped about every three months to see if it is still needed.
Follow the instructions given by your doctor regarding how much cream to use, when to use it and how often to use it. If you are unclear about anything you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Follow the instructions provided with your vaginal cream carefully. The cream should be inserted into the vagina using the applicator provided. It is usually best to do this before going to bed at night.
If you forget a dose insert it as soon as you remember, unless it is more than 12 hours late. In this case just leave out the missed dose and insert your next dose as usual when it is due. Do not insert double the amount of cream to make up for a missed dose.
The following side effects can affect individuals in different ways, it does not mean that all will be affected:
- Temporary vaginal irritation or itching after applying the cream (this should improve after a few weeks).
- Vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting.
- Gall bladder problems
- Skin problems, e.g. rash or allergy to the sun
- Swollen, tender or painful breasts
- Feeling nauseous or being sick
- Flu-like symptoms
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the medicine's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with Ovestin, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
Ovestin should be used with caution if you have:
- fibroids inside your womb
- a growth of womb lining outside your womb (endometriosis) or a history of excessive growth of the womb lining (endometrial hyperplasia)
- increased risk of developing blood clots (thrombosis)
- migraine or severe headaches
- a disease of the immune system that affects many organs of the body (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE)
- a disease affecting the eardrum and hearing (otosclerosis)
Ovestin should not be used if you:
- have had angina or a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- have or have ever had a blood clot in a vein (thrombosis), such as in the legs (deep venous thrombosis) or the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- have or have ever had breast cancer, cancer of the womb lining (endometrium) or ovarian cancer, or if you are suspected of having any of these
- have any unexplained vaginal bleeding
- have excessive thickening of the womb lining (endometrial hyperplasia) that is not being treated
- have or have ever had a liver disease and your liver function tests have not returned to normal
- have a rare blood problem called “porphyria” which is passed down in families (inherited)
Please ask your doctor about using Ovestin whilst taking other vaginal medicines, for example pessaries or vaginal creams for thrush or other vaginal infections.
Ovestin should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet