Postmenopausal women with certain vaginal symptoms may benefit from nutraceuticals containing equol, according to a study published in Menopause.
Salvatore Caruso, MD, of the Department of General Surgery and Medical Surgical Specialties, Gynecological Clinic, Research Group for Sexology, at the University of Catania in Italy, and associates conducted a nonrandomized trial to assess the efficacy of nutraceuticals with equol on vaginal health in postmenopausal women with dyspareunia and vulvovaginal symptoms.
The study included 126 postmenopausal women who were either grouped to use nutraceuticals (n=72) or refused treatment (n=54). Women in the case cohort were asked to take one oral tablet daily for 8 months. Results were recorded at baseline, 4 months, and 8 months.
Outcomes measured were vaginal maturation index, vaginal pH, and symptoms of vaginal atrophy using the vaginal health index (VHI). In addition, dyspareunia scores were recorded.
Compared with the control group, women taking nutraceuticals reported significant improvements in vaginal pH (5.1 ± 1.7 vs 4.1± 1.3) and significant increases in vaginal maturation indexes (58 ± 8 vs 68 ± 5) after 8 months of treatment.
The investigators also reported improvements in patient VHI after 4 and 8 months as well as reductions in dyspareunia in women taking nutraceuticals in 8 months but not 4 months.
No changes were noted since baseline for women who did not receive treatment.
“Nutraceuticals containing equol would be effective in modulating postmenopausal symptoms, particularly vaginal symptoms, and could be well accepted by the women who usually do not wish to use hormone therapy or cannot use it for medical reasons,” the authors concluded.
Caruso S, Cianci S, Fava V, Rapisarda AMC, Cutello S, Cianci A. Vaginal health of postmenopausal women on nutraceutical containing equol. Menopause. 2018 25(4):430–435