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Research article2016Peer reviewed

Oxytocin improves cytological and histological profiles of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women

Al-Saqi, Shahla H.; Jonasson, Aino F.; Naessen, Tord; Uvnäs-Moberg, Kerstin


Objective: To investigate if topical oxytocin can reverse vaginal atrophy, as assessed by cytological and histological examination of the vaginal mucosal epithelium, in postmenopausal women after 12 weeks of treatment as compared to placebo. Study design: Sixty-eight postmenopausal women diagnosed with vaginal atrophy were randomized for this multicenter, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Thirty-three women received 600 IU vagitocin, an oxytocin containing gel, and 35 women received a placebo gel intravaginally. The dose was 600 IU daily for the first two weeks and thereafter 600 IU twice a week for 10 weeks. All participant women underwent four visits and a subgroup of 20 women had a further fifth visit. Vaginal smears for cytological evaluation were collected at all visits. Vaginal biopsies were taken in 20 women before and after 12 weeks of treatment for histological analysis. In these women a vaginal smear was also collected after 14 weeks. Results: The increase in the percentage of superficial cells between 0 and 2 weeks was significantly greater after treatment with vagitocin in comparison with placebo (p = 0.04). The difference in the maturation value between 0 and 12 weeks was significantly higher in the vagitocin than in the placebo group (p = 0.01). The reduction in the scores of atrophy was according to the histological investigation significantly greater in the vagitocin group than in the placebo group at 12 weeks (p < 0.04). Conclusion: Daily intravaginal treatment with vagitocin 600 IU improves expressions of vaginal atrophy as recorded by cytological investigation of vaginal smears and histological analysis of vaginal biopsies. Treatment twice weekly seems to be less effective regarding the increase in superficial cells.

Published in

Post reproductive health
2016, Volume: 22, number: 1, pages: 25-33

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine

    Publication identifier


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