Vaginal atrophy of women in postmenopause. Results from a multicentric observational study: The AGATA study.Maturitas. 2016 Jan; 83:40-4.M
Prevalence of vulvar-vaginal atrophy (VVA) has been always investigated by phone or web interview without any objective evaluation. Objective signs associated with symptoms of VVA are now termed genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM). This multi-centric study was performed in order to provide nation-wide data on the prevalence and management of GSM.
Nine hundred thirteen females, 59.3 ± 7.4 years old asking for a routine gynecological examination were recruited. Diagnosis of GSM was based on patient sensation of vaginal dryness, any objective sign of VVA and a pH > 5.
A 722/913 (79.1%) women were diagnosed with GSM with a prevalence ranging from 64.7% to 84.2%, starting from 1 to 6 years after menopause. Sedentary women were at higher risk of GSM (OR 1.8, 95% CI: 1.3-2.5; p = 0.0005). Recent vaginal infection was more likely in women with GSM (OR 2.48, 95% CI: 1.33-4.62; p = 0.0041). Symptoms reported by women with GSM were vaginal dryness (100%), dyspareunia (77.6%), burning (56.9%), itching (56.6%) and dysuria (36.1%). Signs detected by gynecologists were mucosal dryness (99%), thinning of vaginal rugae (92.1%), pallor of the mucosa (90.7%), mucosal fragility (71.9%) and petechiae (46.7%). Only 274 (30%) of women had had a previous diagnosis of VVA/GSM. These were treated either with no therapy (9.8%), systemic hormone (9.2%), local hormone (44.5%) or local non-hormonal (36.5%) therapy. At the time of our investigation 266 of them (97.1%) still had the disorder.
GSM is a common, under-diagnosed and under-treated disorder. Measures to improve its early detection and its appropriate management are needed.