Postmenopausal women with vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA) symptoms do not recognize VVA and its chronic progressive course, which includes urinary problems, according to an internet-based survey.
The Women's EMPOWER survey included 1,858 postmenopausal women VVA symptoms.
The survey also found that postmenopausal women are reluctant to discuss vaginal or sexual symptoms with their healthcare providers. The survey was specifically designed to assess women's awareness of VVA and their behaviors and attitudes associated with the treatment of symptoms.
More than two-thirds of respondents were not familiar or only somewhat familiar with most of the prescription VVA products.
Lead author Michael Krychman said, "The results of the Women's EMPOWER survey demonstrate and reinforce that, even with multimedia marketing and educational strategies in the years after other major VVA surveys, minimal progress has been made toward increasing women's awareness and understanding of VVA."
Adding, "Women remain naive to the safe and effective treatment options that are currently available and are still, for the most part, underinformed and undertreated."
Prior surveys that support the Women's EMPOWER results include REVEAL (Revealing Vaginal Effects At mid-Life), WVM (Women's Voices in the Menopause), VIVA (Vaginal Health: Insight, Views, and Attitudes-US and International), CLOSER (CLarifying Vaginal Atrophy's Impact on SEx and Relationships-North America and EU), and REVIVE (REal Women's Views of Treatment Options for Menopausal Vaginal ChangEs-US and EU).
"The results of these surveys should send a clear message to healthcare providers that they need to initiate education and discussions with their postmenopausal patients so that they can better understand VVA symptoms as well as their options for treatment," said the other researchers.
The survey report was presented at the 27th Annual Meeting of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).