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Fertifa’s response to the announcement that oestrogen pessaries could be made available over-the-counter

The following information has been provided by Dr Gidon Lieberman, Medical Director at Fertifa

The news that Gina 10 mcg, an oestrogen pessary may be made available over the counter in the UK is a positive step. However, it is important to recognise that this treatment is not a systemic HRT treatment and that medical advice should always be sought, prior to starting any form of hormone replacement therapy.

A similar product is already available, but on a prescription-only basis.

The benefits

The Gina 10 product is safe and will not yield any side-effects.  The concentration of oestrogen is much lower than in HRT tablets and patches and there is minimal risk of any long-term complications.

It is a good option for many menopausal women, particularly those whose symptoms are predominantly associated with vaginal dryness, pain with intercourse and urinary urgency.

It is also useful for menopausal women who experience heightened discomfort during a smear test. Using the product for two weeks prior to a smear test will make the procedure far more comfortable.

Gina 10 does not need to be used in conjunction with a progestogen, something which is necessary for women with a uterus when oestrogen is given by tablet, gel or patch.

If the Gina 10 product is indeed made available then there is the added benefit of helping to demystify the safety profile of HRT. Too much misinformation persists around HRT, which is a safe and highly effective treatment for the symptoms of menopause.

The drawbacks and limitations

Topical oestrogen pessaries will ONLY treat localised issues such as vaginal dryness. They will not in any way help with the common menopausal symptoms of hot flushes, sweats and cognitive impairments such as low mood and brain fog.  They also have none of the additional benefits associated with systemic HRT, such as improving bone health and cardiovascular health.

Every menopause patient is different and experiences the transition in their own way. It is therefore vital that all women seek professional medical advice before embarking on any treatment and avoid the temptation to self-prescribe. The Gina 10 product is really only suitable for a very specific set of symptoms and a formal prescription from a GP is strongly recommended.

About Dr Gidon Lieberman

Gidon is Medical Director at Fertifa, a leading provider of workplace fertility and menopause benefits. He is also a Consultant and Clinical Lead for Infertility and Reproductive Medicine at the Whittington Health NHS Trust and is a British Menopause Society accredited specialist and trainer.

If you would like to speak to Dr Lieberman for additional information or a media quote, please email gidon.lieberman@fertifa.com

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