Severe vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) symptoms are associated with worse quality of life in postmenopausal women, according to a study published online Nov. 12 in  Menopause

Rossella E. Nappi, MD, Ph.D., from the University of Pavia in Italy, and colleagues assessed the relationship between VVA symptoms and quality of life among postmenopausal women.

Women aged 45 to 75 years with confirmation of last menstrual period more than 12 months before, who attended menopause or gynecology centers, were included. Those women had at least one VVA symptom filled in a group of questionnaires, including EuroQol-EQ-5D-3L and Day-to-Day Impact of Vaginal Aging (DIVA). To confirm the VVA diagnosis, an objective gynecologic examination was also performed.

Severe vaginal symptoms

The researchers found that of the 2,160 evaluable women, 66.3 percent had severe vaginal symptoms, 30.5% had severe vulvar symptoms, and 11.2 percent had severe urinary symptoms.

Gynecological examination confirmed VVA in more than 90% of the participants. For both EuroQol-EQ-5D-3L and Day-to-Day Impact of Vaginal Aging, the overall scores, as well as most of the dimensions and components, were significantly worse for women with severe VVA symptoms (vulvar and urinary) versus women Without serious symptoms, scores for quality of life questionnaires were worse for women with confirmed VVA.

"This important effect on the quality of life of many women should be recognized as equivalent to those of other conditions and pathologies of which there is greater awareness," the authors write.

Severe VVA symptoms showed a direct association with worse quality of life in postmenopausal women. This important effect on the quality of life of many women should be recognized as equivalent to those of other conditions and pathologies of which there is greater awareness.