And treat it.
You’ve probably heard of the term « menopause, » but what exactly is it?
Menopause is a natural transition in a woman’s life that marks the end of her fertility and ability to reproduce.
It happens when your ovaries stop producing eggs and estrogen levels drop, causing changes in your body–like hot flashes and night sweats–that can be uncomfortable at times.
Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause (GSM) refers to symptoms related to your urinary tract and genital area that occur after this transition period, when lake of estrogen cause damage to vaginal mucosis.
GSM can cause discomfort during sex or urination, as well as other issues like vaginal dryness or irritation due to decreased lubrication caused by lower estrogen levels. Women may also experience pain during intercourse due to thinning vaginal walls or muscle spasms around the urethra (the tube through which urine flows).
If left untreated, GSM can lead to more serious problems such as bladder infections or kidney stones if you’re unable to empty your bladder completely because of constipation caused by lack of fiber intake (another symptom associated with menopause).
Risk Factors for GSM
- Hormone Changes
- Certain Medications, such as chemotherapy or hormonal treatment of breast cancer.
- Other Medical Conditions
Diagnosis of GSM
The diagnosis of GSM is made by a thorough history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, including when they started and how long they last. He or she may also want to know if you have had any changes in bowel habits or urinary frequency (urination).
The doctor will perform a pelvic exam to evaluate for signs of infection or irritation of the vagina, cervix (the opening between the uterus and vagina), uterus and ovaries.
He will determine the « Vaginal Health Index », that meens to scoe elasticity, fluid, pH, mucosa, moisture.
The doctor may also perform an ultrasound scan to look at your pelvic organs more closely if he/she suspects endometriosis or other causes of pelvic pain such as cysts on your ovaries or tumors growing in the pelvis area.
If there are no obvious causes for your symptoms then other tests may be needed such as blood tests which measure hormone levels; urine tests which check for infection; imaging studies such as x-rays or CT scans that give detailed pictures inside parts of our body
Treatments for GSM
Local hormonal therapia. Gel or hormonal tabs are made to maintain vaginal mucosis in good condition and avoide atrophy.
Often, you can see that it is not enought, as vaginal mucosis suffer of simply age, and local hormones can’t regenerate it.
Whatever, if we want it to function, it must be initiated soon after the income of menopause.
They do not require any prior preparation of the patient because they are administered on an outpatient basis and do not require general anesthesia.
The duration of the session rarely exceeds 40 minutes.
The ablative and thermal effect of the laser shot is followed by stimulation of the natural processes of cell renewal and collagen production by the treated tissues. This natural regeneration process continues after the treatment cycle.
The result is a kind of rejuvenation of the tissues, which have become more supple, more comfortable, revitalized.
This effect, reported by patients, is proven by numerous scientific evaluations.
The vast majority of patients who have benefited from these procedures say they are satisfied, painless act and reduction of symptoms caused by vaginal atrophy.
They feel a marked improvement in comfort during the sexual act and in the satisfaction it gives them.
Good results are also obtained in the treatment of vulvar dryness.
- Exercise regularly. A regular exercise program can help you manage your symptoms and feel better overall. It also helps to lower high blood pressure, which is common in women during menopause.
- Eat a healthy diet low in fat and sugar and rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes (beans), lean proteins such as fish or chicken breast without skin; nuts/seeds/peanut butter; dairy products such as yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese (not ice cream).
- Reduce stress by getting enough rest each night; taking time out for yourself each day; finding ways to relax that are right for you (meditation/yoga/relaxation techniques); avoiding caffeine after noon if possible since this may contribute to hot flashes later on at night when they’re most bothersome; avoiding alcohol altogether since it can trigger more frequent hot flashes among other problems associated with alcohol consumption such as weight gain from eating poorly due to lack of appetite caused by drinking too much alcohol over time
Alternative Treatments for GSM
There are a number of alternative treatments that can help to manage your GSM.
- Herbal Remedies: Herbs such as chaste tree berry, black cohosh and dong quai have been used for centuries to treat symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes and night sweats. These herbs are available in capsule form or tea form at most health food stores or online retailers such as Amazon. You should always consult with your doctor before taking any herbal remedies because some may interact with medications you’re currently taking (including birth control pills).
- Dietary Changes: Eating a healthy diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables may reduce the severity of your symptoms by lowering estrogen levels in the body. Some foods that contain phytoestrogens–a type of plant estrogen–are soybeans/soy products (such as tofu), flaxseed oil, almonds and apples
Tips for Coping with GSM
- Get enough rest.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid triggers, such as stress, that may contribute to GSM symptoms and make you more likely to experience them in the future. If you can’t avoid these triggers entirely, try to find ways of coping with them (for example, taking deep breaths when you feel yourself becoming stressed).
If your symptoms are severe enough that they interfere with your daily life or cause extreme discomfort, talk to your doctor about treatment options that might help reduce their severity and frequency–and remember: there’s no shame in asking for help!
When to See a Doctor
If you’re experiencing persistent or unusual symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor.
Your doctor can help you determine if your symptoms are related to menopause or another health condition.
If they are related to menopause, he or she will work with you on treatment options that may include hormone therapy and/or lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.
If the side effects of treatment become too severe for comfort, talk with your doctor about switching medications or stopping treatment altogether
Complications of GSM
- Consequences on quality of life are really very important. Pain and disconfort can be permanent. It can avoid any sexual intercourse and be a real problem for stability of the couple.
- Urinary tract infections. Women with GSM are at increased risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can be painful and lead to more serious complications if left untreated.
- Urinary incontinence. Urinary incontinence is a common problem among women who experience frequent UTIs, especially if they’re not treated quickly enough or properly managed by their doctor.
- Kidney damage: Women who have had one or more kidney stones should be monitored carefully by their healthcare providers because the risk of developing kidney damage increases with each stone episode.
Prevention of GSM
You can prevent the symptoms of GSM by taking steps to maintain your health.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been shown to be effective in preventing GSM, but it’s not recommended for everyone. Talk with your doctor about whether HRT is right for you and what options are available.
- Avoid certain medications that may cause GSM symptoms, such as diuretics and antidepressants. If you need to take these medications, talk with your doctor about ways they can be used safely while avoiding side effects like hot flashes or night sweats.
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating right and exercising regularly–this will help reduce stress on the body during menopause and make it easier for you to sleep well at night!
- Your doctor can help you and maintain vaginal tract in good condition.
The takeaway message is that you should be aware of the symptoms of GSM, but don’t panic. There are many treatments available, including hormone replacement therapy, laser, « plasma » treatment and lifestyle changes.
If you need help with managing your symptoms, talk to your doctor or gynecologist.