GSM – What is it and do I have it?
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) is the new term for vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA). Oestrogen deficiency symptoms in the genitourinary tract are bothersome in more than 50% of women, having an adverse impact on quality of life, social activity, and sexual relationships. GSM is a chronic and progressive syndrome that is underdiagnosed and undertreated. GSM includes conditions of the vagina, vulva, pelvic floor tissues, urinary tract, and sexual dysfunction and loss of libido. Many women are reluctant to report these symptoms to their healthcare professionals for many reasons. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, it is possible that you may be experiencing symptoms of GSM.
Anatomical and functional changes in the genitourinary tissues
- Loss of labial and vulval fullness
- Contraction of labia majora and clitoral hood
- Narrowing and stenosis of the introitus
- Loss of hymenal remnants or reduced elasticity
- Vaginal shortening and narrowing
- Pelvic floor weakening
- Vaginal epithelium dry and thin with petechiae
- Loss of superficial cells and increase in parabasal cells
- Loss of vaginal rugae > Inflamed vaginal tissues
- Alkaline pH changes the vaginal microbiome with loss of Lactobacilli (vaginal pH >4.5)
- Persistent or recurrent discharge with odour (not Candida in postmenopause)
- Urethral meatal prominence and prolapse with thinning of the urethral epithelium
- Touch perception altered either hypersensitive or decreased feeling
- Loss of clitoral stimulation
Our doctors at The Jade Room or any medical professional you feel comfortable with can also help you navigate this new stage of your life and answer any questions you may have.