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Vaginal Suppositories: How to Open & Insert

Affordable, easy to use compounded suppositories

Vaginal suppositories are a dosage form that contains medication intended to be inserted into the vagina.  They can come in different shapes or sizes with the most common having a narrow end at one side. The suppository typically melts once placed inside the body where the medication is then absorbed. Suppositories are used for a variety of purposes: fertility treatments (progesterone), dryness (estradiol), pain during sexual intercourse (prasterone) and many more.

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How to Insert Suppositories

Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water and dry them with a clean towel.

Steps how to wash hands

How to open suppositories

Step 2: Unwrap your suppository and check to see that it is firm enough to insert.  Do this by gently pressing between your fingers but be careful to not smash the suppository.  If it is not firm enough for insertion, you can cool it by placing it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Person pointing index finger

Step 3: Dip the tip in clean water if you are concerned that it will not slide smoothly.

Step 4: Remove your clothing to expose your vaginal area and get into a comfortable position.  Lie on your back with your legs slightly bent towards your belly this position will help expose the vaginal opening.  Alternatively, you can stand with knees slightly bent and feet a few inches apart. If you are helping someone insert the suppository the first position is often preferred.

How to place a vaginal suppository

Step 5: Carefully push the suppository in the tapered end first approximately ½ to 1 inch if using your finger. This should not cause pain.  For pediatric patients, the distance may be shorter depending on the size of the child.

Step 6: Sit or lie still for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the medicine to dissolve.

Step 7: Wash your hands thoroughly again with warm soapy water.

Step 8: Some of the medicine may leak back out. If this is a concern, a pad or similar absorbent product can be used inside the underwear.

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Talk to your doctor or pharmacist

Health professional and patient talking

Placing a vaginal suppository should be easy and painless. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or are having trouble inserting the suppository properly. Check with your doctor if you notice rectal bleeding, blistering, pain, burning, itching, or other sign of irritation not present before you started using this medicine.

Question: When are vaginal suppositories used?
Answer: Vaginal suppositories may be used to deliver certain medications to the vaginal area. These medications include anti-infectives, hormones, and a variety of other uses determined by your doctor.  Occasionally, vaginal suppositories may be utilized if the medication is unable to be delivered with another dosage form.

Question: What if the suppository comes out after inserting it?
Answer: It is possible that you may not have pushed it far enough into the vagina.  Typically, patients are instructed to insert approximately ½ to 1 inch, which is the distance for most adults. If you are still having trouble contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Question: How long does it take to for a suppository to dissolve after I insert it?
Answer: The length of time it takes for a vaginal suppository to dissolve varies on a number of factors, including your body temperature, the temperature of suppository prior to insertion, and the type of base. On average most suppositories will melt in 10-15 minutes, although it can take up to a half hours.  If you are still having trouble contact your doctor or pharmacist for more information. 

Question: How long after inserting the vaginal suppository should I wait to have sex?
Answer: The answer to this question varies based on the type of medication contained in your suppository and sometimes there is more information you need to make an informed decision. Please call the pharmacist for more information. 

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Helpful tips


  1. Suppositories often are stored in a cool place to prevent melting and sometimes are kept in the fridge. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.
  2. Vaginal suppositories can be messy and many women may wear a pad for a period of time following insertion. 
  3. You can use finger cots or gloves to keep insertion clean and protect your fingers while using the suppository. You can order these along with your prescription, call the pharmacy to request they be purchased along with your prescription. 
  4. Some people choose to trim fingernails short and round to help prevent scratches or cuts while inserting the suppository.
  5. Try to avoid exercise or excessive movement for approximately one hour after insertion.
  6. Avoid using items such as vaseline in an attempt to help with the lubrication of the suppository. Using it can keep the suppository from melting after it’s inserted. Instead, use a water-soluble lubricant. 
  7. Don’t use tampons when using a vaginal suppository. Tampons can absorb some of the medication. This can prevent the suppository from working well.
  8. Store medication out of the reach of children.

We can ensure your next medication is compounded with the same quality and care as this one.
When you approach the end of your compounded suppository call:
Coast to Coast Compounding (303-237-4478)
*Please allow 24-48hr to prepare your suppository* 

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