New Name for Vulvovaginal Atrophy


Vulvovaginal atrophy, or atrophic vaginitis, is now being called "genitourinary syndrome of menopause," or GSM, according to experts.

Vulvovaginal atrophy, characterized by thinning, drying, and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to low estrogen levels, has been renamed. According to experts, the term "genitourinary syndrome of menopause" is medically more accurate, broader in that it covers all genitourinary symptoms related to menopause, and more acceptable to the public.

Genitourinary syndrome of menopause, or GSM, is defined as a collection of symptoms and signs associated with age-related decreases in estrogen and other sex steroid levels that affect the labia majora/minora, clitoris, vestibule/introitus, vagina, urethra, and bladder. GSM may include genital symptoms of vaginal dryness, burning, and irritation; sexual symptoms of lack of lubrication, discomfort or pain, and impaired function; and urinary symptoms of urgency, dysuria (painful urinary), and recurrent urinary tract infections.

According to the article, for a diagnosis of GSM, women must present with some or all of the signs and symptoms, which must be bothersome and not accounted for by another diagnosis.

The experts who reviewed the terminology and suggested this change are associated with the International Society for Sexual Medicine, The North American Menopause Society, the International Menopause Society, and the European Menopause and Andropause Society. A more in depth explanation of why experts recommended this change is available here.


Portman DJ, Gass MLS, and Vulvovaginal Atrophy Terminology Consensus Conference Panel. Genitourinary syndrome of menopause: new terminology for vulvovaginal atrophy from the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health and The North American Menopause Society. J Sexual Med. 2014;doi:10.1111/jsm.12686. Available at: Accessed September 1, 2014.

Related Videos
One year out: Fezolinetant displays patient satisfaction for managing hot flashes | Image Credit:
Unlocking therapeutic strategies for menopausal cognitive decline | Image Credit:
Navigating menopause care: Expert insights from ACOG 2024 | Image Credit:
New data shows elinzanetant's efficacy in treating menopausal symptoms | Image Credit:
Navigating vasomotor symptoms in breast cancer patients | Image Credit:
Learning what women prefer in STI preventive care
Why doxycycline PEP lacks clinical data for STI prevention in women
Understanding the impact of STIs on young adults | Image Credit:
Revolutionizing menopause management: A deep dive into fezolinetant | Image Credit:
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.