Vulvovaginal atrophy of menopause and its impact on sexual function in an Italian clinical cohort of post-menopausal women

on behalf of the investigators of the EVES Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The aim of current study was to estimate the impact of vulvovaginal atrophy (VVA) on sexual function in a clinical population of Italian postmenopausal women. Women aged 45–75 years with at least one VVA symptom completed three questionnaires: Day-to-Day Impact of Vaginal Aging (DIVA), Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Female Sexual Distress Scale revised (FSDS-R). A gynaecological examination was performed for VVA confirmation. Among the 1,066 evaluable patients, VVA was confirmed in around 90% of the sample. Sexual function impairment was significantly higher in patients with confirmed VVA as observed by significant differences in the sexual function component of the DIVA questionnaire (p =.014), the FSDS-R (p <.0005), and the FSFI (p <.0005), as well as for all the FSFI subdomains: desire (p <.0005), arousal (p <.0005), lubrication (p <.0005), orgasm (p <.0005), satisfaction (p <.0005) and pain (p <.0005). Significant impairment of sexual function was demonstrated in Italian postmenopausal women who were clinically confirmed with signs of VVA through gynaecological examination.IMPACT STATEMENTWhat is already known on this subject: At least half of postmenopausal women report VVA associated symptoms with significant impact on sexual function and ultimately on sexual activity. What the results of this study add: As compared with patients without confirmed VVA, the negative impact on sexual function was significantly higher in patients with confirmed VVA. This difference was observed for the sexual function component (DIVA-C) of the DIVA questionnaire, for the overall FSDS-R result, and for the overall FSFI score, as well as for all the FSFI subdomains (desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain). What the implications are of these findings for clinical practice and/or further research: An impairment of sexual function is significantly associated with VVA diagnosis in Italian post-menopausal women, especially when diagnosis was objectively confirmed by clinical signs of VVA visible in the gynaecological examination. In addition, this study demonstrates that inquiring about VVA using a structured questionnaire may increase the diagnosis of VVA related changes in sexual function.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • DIVA
  • FSDS
  • FSFI
  • menopause
  • sexual function
  • Vulvovaginal atrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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