OBJECTIVE: This subanalysis of the European Vulvovaginal Epidemiology Survey study aimed to assess the correlation of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) symptoms and severity, when confirmed by objective gynecologic examination, with the quality of life of postmenopausal women.
METHODS: 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.
RESULTS: Of a total of 2,160 evaluable women, 66.3%, 30.5%, and 11.2% suffered from severe vaginal, vulvar, and urinary symptoms, respectively. VVA was confirmed in more than 90% of the participants. Mean (±SD) EQ-5D-3L score was 0.892 ± 0.144 and mean (±SD) score on the associated visual analog scale was 71.7 ± 16.0. Mean (±SD) DIVA score was 0.922 ± 0.653. For both EQ-5D-3L and DIVA, the overall scores and most of the dimensions/components were statistically significantly worse for women with severe VVA symptoms (vulvar and urinary) compared with women not affected by severe symptoms. Quality of life questionnaires showed worse scores in women where the diagnosis of VVA was confirmed by gynecologic examination.
CONCLUSIONS: 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 from other conditions and pathologies of which there is greater awareness.