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Insights into the vulvar component of the genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM).

Maturitas 2024 August
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause is a comprehensive term that groups genital, urinary and sexual signs and symptoms mainly due sex hormone deficiency and aging, with a crucial impact on quality of life of midlife women. While this broad definition captures the common underlying physiopathology and the frequent overlap of symptomatology, improving knowledge about different components of genitourinary syndrome of menopause may be relevant for individualized treatment, with possible implications for efficacy, compliance and satisfaction. This narrative review focuses on the vulvar component of genitourinary syndrome of menopause, highlighting anatomical and functional peculiarities of the vulva that are responsible for some of the self-reported symptoms, as well as specific signs at physical examination. Increasing evidence points towards a pivotal role of vulvar vestibular health in the occurrence of sexual pain, one of the most common and distressing symptoms of genitourinary syndrome of menopause, which should be evaluated with validated scales taking a biopsychosocial perspective. This is an essential step in the recognition of different phenotypes of genitourinary syndrome of menopause and in the assessment of the most effective diagnostic and therapeutic algorithm. Menopausal vulvar health deserves more research into tailored non-hormonal and hormonal treatment options.

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