Pain In Post-Menopausal Women

When I write the words “pain in post-menopausal women”, I know that many of you have probably dealt with this issue.

So if you are young and have not yet experienced menopause, you might want to skip this one because it does not yet pertain to you.

Yet is the operative word.

As you can imagine, I am reluctant to write about this. But if it brings any amount of relief to one woman, then it was worth it.

My Week So Far:

I paid my taxes this week. It took a big chunk out of my bank account. But then I save all year to pay it. I will have to be cautious with money for awhile.

Yesterday I went to CVS to pick up a prescription called Osphena, an expensive drug I’ve been taking since my late forties.

What I paid for a three month supply of Osphena after applying my Humana drug card was $523. If not for my Medicare drug supplement, I would have paid close to $900 for it.

My doctor told me that Medicare has concluded that women over 65 no longer need hormones.

Who, in their infinite wisdom, drew this blanket conclusion for post-menopausal women everywhere?

This 65 year old woman tried going without Osphena for close to a week, and the result was not pretty.


Osphena® is not an estrogen. It is a non-hormonal treatment that specifically targets vaginal tissue.

Falling estrogen levels due to menopause cause vaginal changes referred to as Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy (VVA)

At age 47 a female gynecologist examined me (you know what I mean so I won’t spell it out) and said what she saw resembled “onion skin.”

I can only imagine what she would say when examining me now, years and more atrophy later.

But years ago, test after painful test led me to say “no more.” No more physical examinations.

Examinations lead to infections, which of course make the problem even worse.

The doctor I saw at age 47 prescribed Osphena & Estradiol. She told me not to bathe or swim because that causes additional dryness.

I know several of you are probably going to point to the dangers of taking these kinds of drugs for post-menopausal problems.

I’m already quite aware of the precautions by the manufacturer. But you have to balance the dangers against something called quality of life.


Without Osphena and one other prescription called Estradiol, which is a hormone, life is not pleasant. I would not wish this misery on anyone.

I get Estradiol cream at Genscripts. Estradiol is the generic for Estrace. Even at Genscripts I spend over $100 for Estradiol.

I have enough pain even with the medications. But I hate to think how bad things would be without them. So I’m grateful to get them.

Continuing Post-Menopausal Symptoms:

Due to the high price, I’ve tried not taking Osphena at various times and been absolutely miserable. I last maybe a week at most before I am screaming for mercy.

The price of Osphena goes down somewhat once I’ve paid my deductible, and I probably already have with this one prescription. So in 3 months, the price will not be quite as high.

When I called to see if the prescription was ready, the pharmacist asked: “Are you aware of the price?” I told him yes.

Then when I drove through the drive-thru at CVS, the woman working at the window asked me the very same thing.

Unfortunately I’m very, very aware of the price. I’ve been paying for this prescription for 17 years.

And just like clockwork, next January my doctor will have to explain to Humana why I need this drug so they will authorize it and pay a portion of the price.


    Ah, women and hormones. Literally a “touchy” subject.

    I remember something that my friend who died 17 years ago used to say.

    “I would roll a drunk in an alley if they had hormones,” she often said to me.

    This is the desperation I’m referring to.

    If you are not one of the post-menopausal women who have day-to-day problems, consider yourself very lucky.

    Note: Here are two items I order from Amazon that help with these issues:

    Email me if you have questions.

    {This post contains affiliate links}



    1. Brenda have you compared the various Medicare plans available in your area, specifically the Medicare Advantage Plans that can replace both Part B and Part D? I currently have a United Healthcare Medicare Advantage Plan PPO that has zero premium (it takes the Medicare premium automatically but no other out of pocket) and includes medical, dental and prescription drugs. I have low copays and zero deductibles – if my prescriptions are generic the cost to me is generally zero. The available plans vary not only by state but region so you have to search and compare the ones near you. You can go to Medicare.gov to pull them up by your zip code and compare the features of several plans side-by-side. Your prescriptions in this post may still have a charge because they are name branded and not generic – you can also add your prescriptions on the website and it will tell you what deductables and copays apply to your specific medications. To me the Medicare Advantage Plans are simple and provide excellent coverage and benefits. Some added benefits I have in my current plan besides medical and prescription drugs: $40 quarterly spending for OTC items, free gym memberships at every gym in my area, good dental coverage,,,. Just something to look into if you have not previously done so:)

    2. Forgot to say, Thank You for shedding light on this. I think it’s impowering for us all to talk about things like this. My sister and a friend use a cream that helps moisturize the skin between the urethra and vagina to prevent chronic bladder infections and it’s very expensive too. It’s outrageous that we can’t get the affordable care we need.

        1. Oh dear, Brenda, having frequent yeast infections and UTI’s means your immune system is weakened…and yeast infections are from your body not producing enough good bacteria, so instead being inflamed with candida. This happens from taking too many antibiotics. Have you been a frequent antibiotic user? Do you take a daily probiotic? That will certainly help.

    3. Most likely it was a man who decided that women over 65 don’t need the medication. I don’t think men really understand what women go through in general and because it doesn’t affect them personally, the decisions they make have no direct consequences. You can bet if it was a man who was suffering the coverage would be different. Just my 2 cents about medical care in the US and believe me, I could go on.

      1. I think you’re right. All the things women go through while men stand by. What is one thing they have to endure throughout life aside from just being men? It’s a cruel comparison.

    4. Have you tried GoodRX? You can check at GoodRX.com. The website will tell you what the cost would be at CVS or wherever. Then all I had to do is ask my pharmacist to run the prescription through GoodRX instead of my insurance… just a thought if you haven’t tried it. I didn’t know about it until last year.

    5. Thank you for posting about this issue and health challenge for women. I won’t go into my story about a misunderstood health issue I’ve lived with for many years. Dr Quack kept telling me I was just depressed. Oh brother. I’m tired of everything being swept under the proverbial depression rug.
      Lots of great information, Ladies.

      1. If he isn’t a psychiatrist, then he shouldn’t even mention that diagnosis. He is not trained in these matters so should keep his mouth shut and ask if you would like to see someone in that field. When they can’t figure out what is wrong, they say depression. Somehow I don’t think Dr. Quack says that to men.

    6. Plus hypothyroidism, iron deficiency anemia, low hemoglobin, thinning bones and breaks – all part of the aging process. Someone said “If I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

      1. Oh, how true that is! What a wonderful statement your friend made. If I’d known I’d be as I am now, I wouldn’t have pushed my body to the limits as I did, just because I could. I should have realized that this body has to carry me through and I should respect boundaries. I have told my daughters this over and over again. Hope they listen.

    7. I have been in total menopause since age 35 when I had to loose all those organs. My problems were already beginning at age 30 though my doc laughed his head off at the thought. One great aunt was in total menopause after giving birth to her first child at age 27. It can happen naturally. Any rate, by 35 I was a wreck. As to your issues, mine have not been bad enough to seek meds. From time to time, I put some organic coconut oil vaginally…which seems to help. So for now, no meds. I do so sympathize with you…my high blood pressure meds have been almost as bad…but when I run out, Pfizer in their absolute wisdom has decided to not make it anymore. In my opinion, it works too well!! Not only takes care of my high blood pressure but have been told it must be protecting my kidneys and to a diabetic that is music to the ears. I HATE THE MEDICAL establishment in this country now. For the most part. IF you pay for private docs out of your own pocket who will not deal with any insurance or medicare, we have found good care. Otherwise? Forget it. I am so so sorry Brenda…one size fits all, does NOT FIT all, anymore than 1 dress size fits all. But you know so well all of this. Take as good a care of yourself as you can!!

      1. Tried the coconut oil. Didn’t help. Gave away all my good clothing. Jeans and such that I loved. Couldn’t wear them after age 47. I wear the cheap jogging pants I get from various places online. No way could I wear anything remotely tight.

      1. Saw it and have it bookmarked to talk to my doctor, who is a female, about it. That one’s not cheap either. I was just thinking about it: I pay about $1000 out of pocket for the pills per year. And about $500 out of pocket for the cream. And aside from Medicare, I have a Humana drug plan and another supplement through Manhattan Life. Those two together probably cost under $200 per month. And of course most of you know what Medicare costs, around $200 a month.

        1. Amazon has a pharmacy now with 2 day delivery for prime customers. They also started a rx pass with 50 prescriptions and if you take any of those its 5.00 total for the month. I have saved money so far. Worth a look.

    8. I’m 70, definitely post menopausal…I appreciate this topic. I have the same drying issues with my vagina/vulva area. I also was diagnosed several years ago with lichen sclerosis, which leaves white spots on thin skin around the vulva and outside of vagina area..she did biopsy to get diagnosis. No know cure nor reason why it happens, but when I have extreme flares, it’s very itchy & a little painful & sore, I use a steroid cream my gyn prescribed….well….as we all know steroid cream contributes to thinning the skin…so it’s very frustrating. I found a company in Utah, call “Camp Wander”
      She sells pure essential oils & makes salves, she has one called “Sexy Wellness” with RoseEO, lavender EO, Melaleuca EO, Frankincense EO, organic vitamin E, organic beeswax, organic olive oil & unrefined organic coconut oil….
      It’s has helped me so much towards my condition & also helps with dryness…
      I still occasionally get a flare but they are nothing like before I found this salve…
      I order others salves & EO’s from her…she has a plethora of info on her blog, too…
      Just google Camp Wander
      I’m very interested in getting this cream you’ve suggested to try also…
      Love your blog….just don’t comment often..
      Bloglovin went away but I’ve got your blog on my iPad Home Screen to be able to check in on you & Ivy!

      1. I didn’t know that about steroids. Well, I gave up with the doctors about 8 years ago. Painful tests and steroidal creams that did not help. I knew I was on my own figuring it out. This is something that affects every day of my life. I’m sure it’s the same with you. I feel for you. I’ll check her blog. It sounds familiar so I may have seen it before.

    9. My doctor prescribed Estradiol for me. I use Walmart pharmacy and when I went to pick it up it was going to be over $100 with my insurance. I asked the clerk how much it would be with GoodRX and it was $42.13.

      1. I ordered quite a few moisturizers before I found this one. The others seemed to have irritants in them. The Vulvacare does not. When things are irritated, about twice per week for 10-15 minutes, I have a sitz bath at night with probably a teaspoon or less of Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt. The epsom salt was leaking when I opened the delivery box, so I put it in a plastic container in the bathroom. Just warning you if you order it online. I ordered from Amazon. The epsom salt is soothing. These two things, along with the expensive medication, at least make things bearable. I wear very loose clothing and use non-perfumed detergents. And as several gynos have told me: “Stop using soap there. Water is sufficient.” Since I still sit on the seat in the bathtub, I use the handheld shower wand. I couldn’t sit upright anywhere for long, which is why I have a recliner.

      2. JoyceD, I’ve checked the various stores like that here and can’t find it for less than about $120 for 90 day supply. Maybe the number you quotes is for 30 days?

      1. Yes, checked it out. Looks good when you read what they say. But when you get to the website, it’s really not cheaper for me.

        1. Brenda,
          It looks like you could use their savings card and do mail order if you are willing to pay cash and not do medicare. It’s 190.00 for 90 day supply.

    10. Hi Brenda. You can get the estradiol cream for less than $15 a tube at Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs. I don’t have insurance right now, and getting my prescriptions there is saving me A LOT of money. Right now, only genetics are available. it is a mail order pharmacy that doesn’t use insurance. https://costplusdrugs.com/medications/ It is a legitimate pharmacy that ships from California. Just trying to spread the word about a company that’s doing good.

      1. I did not know about this option! Does it work for all medicines, or just a select few? I will check this website out and help you spread the word. Thanks for the heads up.

        1. Right now, they only have generics. You can search for a medication without creating an account, so you could check to see if they have what you need before signing up. There’s also a $5 shipping fee, so I try to order all my medications at once, so I only pay the $5 every 3 months.

    11. Have you tried using vitamin E vaginal suppositories? You can get them on Amazon. Inexpensive and all natural!

    12. Healthcare and insurance companies have long discriminated against women’s needs. That’s because those who make the decisions are men. Slowly, there is more awareness and these issues have been brought forth. Hopefully, things will change in the future in that regard as far as coverage. Prices I am afraid, will only go up though because pharmaceutical companies get away with it. Perhaps we should move close to Canada’s border so we can access buying medications there.
      Women’s issues like these are how I know for sure God is not a woman. A female would never make us suffer with all these problems as we age. Would love to see males menstruate, have monthly cramps, sore breasts, go through childbirth and have the lovely experience of menopause and it’s after effects.
      Just sayin’ – LOL

    13. Soy isoflavones provide phyto-estrogen, a naturally occurring chemical that simulates “estrogen” like effects when digested. I started taking them not because of menopause symptoms but because soy isoflavones also contain genistein, which is very good for the heart and keeping arteries open. I won’t go into all the boring details of why I started taking soy isoflavones, but I’ve been taking them daily for about 10 years now and I’m in better health heart-wise and also post-menopausal symptoms disappeared, including most night sweats. I get my soy isoflavones through GNC, but there are plenty of straight phyto-estrogen options available that can be purchased online and in pharmacies that may well give you relief without having to pay more than $500 a month for prescription drugs.

    Comments are closed.