Doctors urged to monitor women’s postmenopausal vaginal health
MedWire News: Recommendations from the International Menopause Society (IMS) urge doctors to "proactively" raise the topic of vaginal health with their postmenopausal patients.
The recommendations follow recent research, reported by MedWire News, concerning vaginal atrophy (VA), which is experienced by as many as 45 percent of postmenopausal women, only one in four of whom seek medical help.
David Sturdee, president of the IMS and lead author of the recommendations, told MedWire News that clinicians should consider raising the issue of VA "any time a postmenopausal woman is seen, for whatever reason, even for something totally unrelated to gynecologic issues."
The recommendations state that healthcare professionals are simply not asking their postmenopausal patients about problems such as vaginal dryness.
Women may have cultural and/or religious reasons for not talking to their doctor about their symptoms, say Sturdee et al, and the team believes that those of postmenopausal age may not be aware of the link between vaginal discomfort and declining estrogen levels.
The group suggests reassuring patients that vaginal atrophy is reversible, but that it requires specific treatment, unlike symptoms such as hot flashes, which will usually resolve with time.
The release of the recommendations is timed to coincide with World Menopause Day on 18 October 2010.
MedWire (www.medwire-news.md) is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010
By Sarah Guy