Endometrial safety of low-dose vaginal estrogens : Menopause

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Endometrial safety of low-dose vaginal estrogens

Stanczyk, Frank Z. PhD, MS; Mandelbaum, Rachel S. MD; Matharu, Harpreet MD; Dancz, Christina E. MD, MPH; Sherman, Mark E. MD

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Menopause 30(6):p 650-658, June 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000002177

It is estimated that up to 50% to 90% of postmenopausal women may experience genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM), which may have a detrimental impact on quality of life. One of the most effective modes of treatment of GSM is low-dose vaginal estrogens. Numerous studies have addressed the safety of these estrogens using endometrial biopsy and/or endometrial thickness on ultrasound. Based on these studies, the consensus is that low-dose vaginal estrogens do not substantially increase the risk of endometrial hyperplasia or cancer; however, the data are severely limited by short duration of follow-up. Although long-term trials are warranted, they are difficult to carry out, costly, and will not yield data for years. More immediate information regarding endometrial safety may be obtained from studies measuring endometrial tissue and serum concentrations of estradiol, estrone, and relevant equine estrogens after administration of different estrogen formulations and doses. This would allow us to understand better the metabolism of estrogens by the vagina and endometrium, and how much estrogen is reaching the endometrium. Here, we discuss metabolism, receptor binding, and signaling of estrogens in vaginal and endometrial tissue, and summarize the existing studies on the endometrial impact of low-dose vaginal estrogen treatment in postmenopausal women.

© 2023 by The North American Menopause Society

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