A recently published randomized, controlled trial  has examined the effects of a topical vaginal pH-balanced gel on symptoms of atrophic vaginitis amongst women who have been treated for breast cancer. Ninety-eight women were enrolled in the study and 86 completed the trial. All participants were postmenopausal prior to the diagnosis of their breast cancer. The hypothesis tested was whether the topical application of a lactic acid gel with a pH of 4.0 would improve vaginal symptoms, including dyspareunia, and objective measures of vaginal health. The active gel, or an identical placebo, was self-administered three times a week for a 12-week treatment period. Women treated with the low pH gel experienced significant reduction in vaginal dryness and dyspareunia compared with women treated with placebo. Three-weekly use of the low pH gel also resulted in a reduction in vaginal pH and a significant improvement in the vaginal maturation index. Although a significant proportion of the women in the study experienced vulvovaginal irritation with the treatment, few women discontinued the study.
This study therefore demonstrates that the lowering of vaginal pH in postmenopausal women improves vaginal health and reduces symptoms of vaginal atrophy and hence offers an alternate therapeutic approach for women experiencing vaginal atrophy after treatment for breast cancer.
Director, the Womens Health Research Program, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Lee YK, Chung HH, Kim JW, Park NH, Song YS, Kang SB. Vaginal pH-balanced gel for the control of atrophic vaginitis among breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol 2011;117:922-7.
Panjari M, Bell RJ, Davis SR. Sexual function after breast cancer. J Sex Med 2011;8:294-302.