Study: Chamomile Vaginal Gel as Effective as Estrogen Cream for Painful Sex

Fact checked

By Menopause Now Editorial Team | Updated: Jan 28, 2021


Affecting more than 50% of middle-aged women, vaginal dryness and painful sex and are two of the common consequences of estrogen drops in menopause, oftentimes extending into postmenopause.1

Being rich in phytoestrogenic compounds that are known to bring relief from menopause symptoms, chamomile was used in this 2020 clinical trial to determine whether it can improve sexual discomforts in women during the menopausal transition.

Study: Chamomile vaginal gel as effective as estrogen cream for painful sex

Study Design

This clinical trial was conducted on 96 postmenopausal women struggling with painful sex (medically known as dyspareunia) and sexual dissatisfaction. Participants were divided into groups, receiving the following treatments:

  • The intervention group 1 received 5% chamomile vaginal gel.
  • The intervention group 2 received conjugated estrogen vaginal cream.
  • The control group received placebo gel.

Gels were applied for 12 consecutive weeks, starting with one gram per day for two weeks and then increasing the dosage to one gram twice daily for the remaining 10 weeks.

Before and after the trial, the Larsson and pain self-assessment questionnaires were filled out by all participants.

Study Findings

In terms of sexual satisfaction, both intervention groups showed much higher scores than the placebo group.

Regarding painful intercourse, women in the chamomile group reported significant relief from symptoms as early as the second week of treatment:

  • At the first visit, 30% of the participants reported severe dyspareunia; 53.3% had moderate symptoms; and 16.7% experienced mild discomforts.

  • During the second visit, no participants reported severe dyspareunia, and 30% of women had no symptoms whatsoever. The remaining 70% experienced mild to moderate symptoms.

  • At the last check-up, 96.7% of women reported no dyspareunia.

The chamomile gel group results are statistically comparable to those of the vaginal estrogen gel group. There were no significant improvements in dyspareunia symptoms in the control group.

What Does It Mean?

Researchers in this trial have demonstrated that using chamomile vaginal gel can reduce painful sexual intercourse and increase sexual satisfaction as well as estrogen vaginal gel.

It is thought that the herb expresses these beneficial actions thanks to its phytoestrogenic compounds that balance hormones, thus reducing vaginal dryness, alleviating painful sex, and boosting sexual satisfaction.

Being able to relieve sexual discomforts with chamomile gel offers women who cannot or do not want to rely on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) an option for a natural and side effect-free treatment. Increasing sexual satisfaction can also have a directly positive effect on postmenopausal women's self-confidence and overall outlook on life.

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