NEW HAVEN, Conn., Aug. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study released by the European Vulvovaginal Epidemiological Survey (EVES) concludes that vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA), or thin dry vaginal and vulvar tissues, is highly prevalent among postmenopausal women and can be associated with severe symptoms, including dryness; irritation; soreness; painful sexual intercourse; and urinary frequency, urgency, and urge incontinence, which can all lead to impaired quality of life.
The study included 2,160 women between 45 and 75 years old. If the patient reported at least one symptom of VVA, a gynecological examination was performed. VVA was confirmed in 90% of the patients studied and those with confirmed VVA had more severe symptoms and a lower quality of life than those without a confirmed diagnosis.
"The study called for 'appropriate clinical assessment and early therapeutic intervention,' which can be tricky because providers fail to ask about it and many women don't discuss their symptoms because either they don't know about VVA or are too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms," says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, FACOG, clinical professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine. "And, that's a shame because there are effective treatments available, from hormone therapies to over-the-counter hormone-free solutions, depending on personal preferences, needs, understanding of potential risks, and consultation with a health provider."
The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) released guidelines for treating VVA titled "Management of Vulvovaginal Atrophy," which states, "Non-hormonal vaginal lubricants with intercourse and regular use of long-acting vaginal moisturizers, if indicated, are 'first-line therapies' to combat this health problem."
"Post-menopausal women, even while taking systemic estrogen, may still have symptoms related to VVA, and those with breast cancer generally experience a high incidence of the condition as many treatments can cause or exacerbate VVA. Women should not be afraid to describe their symptoms with their health provider and ask about potential solutions," adds Minkin. "A simple trip to the pharmacy for Replens, could be the answer. Replens changes the water content and moisturizes vaginal tissues, making them more elastic, thicker, and with enhanced ability to maintain fluid. It lasts for three days and can do much as a first-line therapy to enhance postmenopausal women's quality of life in a safe and effective way."
SOURCE Mary Jane Minkin, MD