Oestrogen vaginal cream

Easy-to-read medicine information about oestrogen vaginal cream – what it is, how to use it safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Oestrogen 
  • Menopause hormonal therapy
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • HRT 
  • Ovestin®
  • Vagifem®

What is oestrogen vaginal cream?

  • Oestrogen vaginal cream is used to treat vaginal symptoms of menopause such as vaginal dryness, burning or itching. 
  • During menopause the body makes less oestrogen which causes the skin in the vaginal area to thin. This can result in vaginal dryness, burning or itching, pain during intercourse, vaginal spotting (bleeding) and pain or burn when passing urine.
  • The use of oestrogen vaginal cream can improve vaginal dryness and soreness and reduce repeated urine infections.   
  • Since oestrogen vaginal cream is applied directly into the vagina, very little is absorbed into the body, reducing the chance of side effects.   

How to use oestrogen vaginal cream

  • Follow the instructions provided with your vaginal cream carefully.
  • The usual dose of oestrogen vaginal cream (Ovestin®) is one application once a day for the first few weeks, until symptoms improve. Then the dose is slowly reduced to one application twice a week. 
  • It is a good idea to use the applicator provided when applying the cream into the vagina. However, if you find using the applicator uncomfortable, the cream can be applied using your fingertips.
  • Oestrogen vaginal cream is best applied at night, before going to sleep.
  • Clean the applicator with warm soapy water and rinse well. 
  • Keep using oestrogen vaginal cream. It may take several days or a few weeks before you notice an improvement. 
  • 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.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, oestrogen vaginal cream can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Vaginal itching or burning after applying the cream
  • This may occur when you first start using oestrogen vaginal cream, and usually settles within 2 weeks
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Increased chance of vaginal thrush 
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Breast discomfort
  • Vaginal bleeding

  • These are rare when using oestrogen vaginal cream
  • Tell your doctor

Learn more

The following links provide further information on oestrogen vaginal cream.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:

Ovestin Cream

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ Last reviewed: 20 Nov 2015