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Management of postmenopausal vulvovaginal atrophy: recommendations of the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease

Faustino R Pérez-López, Nancy Phillips, Pedro Vieira-Baptista, Bina Cohen-Sache, Susana C A V Fialho, Colleen K

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2021 Jun 25;1-7.doi: 10.1080/09513590.2021.1943346. Online ahead of print.

Objective: To develop a best practice document for the management of postmenopausal vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA).

Method: Literature review carried out using clinical terms, treatments or interventions and comorbidity related to VVA. Results: There is a wide variety of interventions that may produce temporal benefits for VVA. However, there are significant limitations in scientific publications concerning VVA and related issues, including variable outcome evaluations, variability in population age range, and small, often underpowered sample sizes. Therapeutic management of VVA should follow a sequential order, considering women’s age, symptoms, general health as well as treatment preference. Beneficial options include lubricants, moisturizers, vaginal estrogens (estradiol, estriol, promestriene, conjugated estrogens), androgens, prasterone, and laser application. In women with general menopausal symptoms who are candidates for systemic hormone therapy, the lowest effective dose should be used. Oral ospemifene is an effective selective estrogen receptor modulator to treat VVA. Systemic androgens have a limited role. Although laser procedures are commonly used, at this moment the International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease does not endorse its use out of the setting of clinical trials. Pelvic floor muscle training improves blood flow and elasticity of the vulvovaginal tissue. In breast cancer survivors, moisturizers and lubricants are first line therapy. However, limited absorption of low/ultra-low doses of estrogens suggests safety, especially in women under treatment with aromatase inhibitors. As clinical practice and available preparations vary between countries this text should be adapted to local circumstances. Conclusions: There is a wide range of therapeutic options to individualize VVA treatments.