The genitourinary syndrome of menopause : Menopause

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Invited Review

The genitourinary syndrome of menopause

Phillips, Nancy A. MD; Bachmann, Gloria A. MD

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Menopause 28(5):p 579-588, May 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001728


Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) refers to a collection of symptoms resulting from diminished hormonal, primarily estrogenic stimulation to the vulvovaginal or lower urinary tract and may affect up to 50% of postmenopausal women. Symptoms, which are typically progressive and unlikely to resolve spontaneously, may include, but are not limited to, vulvovaginal dryness, burning or irritation, dyspareunia, or urinary symptoms of urgency, dysuria or recurrent urinary tract infection. These symptoms are typically progressive and unlikely to resolve spontaneously. Diagnosis is clinical. Telemedicine may play a role in diagnosis, initiation of treatment, and follow-up of women with GSM. Effective treatments include moisturizers and lubricants, local hormonal therapy with estrogen or dehydroepiandrosterone, and oral selective estrogen receptor agonists. Laser or radiofrequency procedures, although currently utilized, are being studied to comprehensively understand their overall effectiveness and safety. Additionally, the influence and effect of the vaginal microbiome, as well as potential of treatment via its manipulation, is being studied. We performed a literature search of PubMed, Google Scholar, and Ovid with search terms of vulvovaginal atrophy and GSM and reviewed major US Society Guidelines to create this narrative review of this topic. The literature suggests that healthcare providers can make a significant impact of the health and quality of life of women by being proactive about discussing and providing interventions for GSM. A systematic approach with consideration of current guidelines and attention to developing protocols for interventions should be employed.


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© 2021 by The North American Menopause Society

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