Many Women Don't Discuss Vulvar and Vaginal Atrophy With Their Physicians
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Up to half of postmenopausal women have symptoms of vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), according to estimates, but many don't discuss the situation with their doctors.
Also, many aren't aware of VVA or don't realize that their symptoms are linked to menopause.
VVA refers to vaginal and vulvar changes caused by estrogen declines at menopause. These changes can lead to irritation, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.
American researchers surveyed 3,046 postmenopausal women (mean age 60.6) with VVA symptoms. The women answered questions about their experiences with VVA, communication with healthcare providers, and the types of treatments they had used.
Sixty-two percent of the women were not familiar with VVA. A third did not know what was causing their symptoms and about a quarter did not associate their symptoms with menopause.
Only 56% had talked to their healthcare provider about their symptoms. Both women and providers seemed reluctant to broach the subject, with just 13% of providers doing so.
Forty percent of the women tried treatment, including over-the-counter products, prescription hormonal therapies, and herbal treatments. But these strategies were not always effective.
The researchers suggested that improved patient-provider communication could help women cope with VVA.
The study was published online in May in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Please click here for more details.
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