Vaginal atrophy is common in postmenopausal women. As the body's estrogen production plummets, the vaginal tissue becomes thinner, triggering symptoms like dryness, itching, and burning as well as painful sex.
Because of the associated risks or other health reasons, menopausal women may choose to avoid hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and search for natural alternatives. Several studies have already identified herbs with potential benefits for vaginal atrophy, including chamomile for reducing painful sex after menopause.1
In this 2023 trial, researchers evaluated whether nettle could be another effective option for alleviating vaginal atrophy symptoms in postmenopausal women.
The trial involved 84 postmenopausal women between the ages of 45 and 60. They were patients at comprehensive health service centers in Aliabad Katul, Iran.
Women were divided into two groups: the intervention group and the placebo group. For eight weeks, one group was using a 5% nettle vaginal cream, while the other group was using the placebo gel.
At several points throughout the trials, researchers recorded women's subjective symptoms of vaginal atrophy, using a variety of assessment tools. They published their findings in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology.
At the 4- and 8-week checkups, researchers registered significant decreases in vaginal atrophy symptoms in women using nettle cream. Their scores for vaginal burning, dryness, and itching as well as painful sex substantially improved over the course of the trial.
None of the participants reported serious side effects.
What Does this Mean?
This trial clearly demonstrates that nettle vaginal cream can reduce symptoms of vaginal atrophy. These benefits can most likely be attributed to its phytoestrogens as well as high amounts of vitamins D and E.
Using herbs like nettle to alleviate menopause symptoms, including genitourinary discomforts, is a more natural and much cheaper option than pharmacological alternatives. It also tends to be free of serious or unpleasant side effects.
- European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, The effect of nettle vaginal cream on subjective symptoms of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women, 2023
- Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine. (2020) Evaluation of the influence of chamomile vaginal gel on dyspareunia and sexual satisfaction in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial. Retrieved September 18, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508318/