How does the new vaginal product alleviate pain during intercourse?

Ask the doctor

Published: January, 2017

Q. I've heard that there is a new vaginal product to reduce pain during intercourse. What is it and how does it work?

A. You must be referring to a new daily vaginal insert that was approved by the FDA in November 2016 for treating moderate to severe pain during intercourse. The insert, marketed as Intrarosa, contains prasterone, another name for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid that is broken down in body cells to produce sex hormones. Although our bodies produce DHEA naturally throughout our lives, the amounts begin to diminish after age 30. Declining hormone levels are associated with the thinning of vaginal tissues leading to dryness, as well as increasing acidity that raises the risk of urinary tract infections.

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