Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study
Background: Vaginal atrophy, the thinning and drying of vaginal mucosa, is associated with menopause. The standard estrogen treatment is not suitable for all women. Objective: To investigate the effects of oral sea buckthorn (SB) oil supplementation on vaginal atrophy. Method: A total of 116 postmenopausal women experiencing symptoms of vaginal dryness, itching or burning were randomized to this placebo-controlled, double-blind study. Ninety-eight participants completed the intervention of
... months, during which they consumed 3 g of SB or placebo oil daily. At the beginning and end, factors of vaginal health were scored by a gynecologist, vaginal pH and moisture were measured and vaginal health index was calculated. Symptoms of atrophy and menopause were evaluated at study visits and by daily logbooks. Serum samples were collected for the analysis of circulating lipids, liver enzymes and C-reactive protein. Results: Compared to placebo, there was a significantly better rate of improvement in the integrity of vaginal epithelium in the SB group when both compliant and noncompliant participants were included (odds ratio (OR) = 3.1, 95% CI 1.11-8.95). A beneficial trend was observed when only the compliant participants were included (OR = 2.9; 95% CI 0.99-8.35). There was a tendency (P = 0.08) toward better improvement of vaginal health index from baseline to the end in the SB group [(0.8 (SD 2.8)] compared to placebo [−0.1 (SD 2.0)]. Conclusions: SB oil showed beneficial effects on vaginal health, indicating it is a potential alternative for mucosal integrity for those women not able to use estrogen treatment for vaginal atrophy.