Women have always gone through menopause. The hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings are commonly known symptoms that are visible, recognizable and publicly experienced by women all over the world. We also know that these symptoms usually resolve as women complete their transition into menopause.
There are less visible symptoms that are just as common. Changes to parts of the body that people don’t see but women definitely experience, and these symptoms get worse with time, not better and they most certainly don’t just return to baseline.
This summer a group of gynecologic societies met to create a new term: the Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause. As defined: “The genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) is a new term that describes various menopausal symptoms and signs including not only genital symptoms (dryness, burning, and irritation), and sexual symptoms (lack of lubrication, discomfort or pain, and impaired function, but also urinary symptoms (urgency, dysuria, and recurrent urinary tract infections)”.
These are all a result of the declining hormones as women transition into menopause. Identifying this syndrome specifically is important for women and physicians to be able to discuss the problem and work towards effective solutions.
Being aware that these symptoms are commonly experienced and that they are related to menopausal hormonal changes is the first step towards patient care. Some interventions are simple: over the counter lubricants or moisturizers, informing women of the preventative effects of frequent penetrative intercourse and orgasms, the use of vaginal dilators. Some are pharmaceutical: hormonal supplementation and ospemifene. Others are quite advanced, like the Mona Lisa Laser treatment.
Whatever the perfect solution for a woman may be, it starts with identifying the problem, and for that we are thankful for the new term: The Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause.
El Camino Women’s Medical Group offers the latest Minimally Invasive Solutions for gynecologic problems. Drs. Amy Teng, Erika Balassiano, and Pooja Gupta, all members of AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopy) are highly trained and experienced in the field of Minimally Invasive Gynecgologic Surgery. Dr. Erika Balassiano is also completed a Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship, under the supervision of world-renowned Dr. Camran Nezhat.
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