GSM, Genitourinary Syndrome of Menopause, is a new term used to define the changes occurring to the vagina, vulva, and bladder during menopause. The following symptoms are included in this syndrome. Women may have some or all these symptoms.
- Genital dryness, burning and irritation
- Sexual symptoms like lack of lubrication and pain with intercourse
- Urinary symptoms of urgency, pain with urination and recurring urinary tract infection
Theses symptoms are common in menopause and often women are offered no practical or useful solutions. Medications that are commonly prescribed can have some uncomfortable side effects like dry mouth, mental confusion, rapid heart rate, or constipation. What is a woman to do? Below I have listed natural treatment options for the symptoms associated with GSM. As always, please talk to a qualified health care practitioner about what is best for you.
Treatments for GSM
- Sea buckthorn oil – in this study 3 grams a day of the oil was given orally and improvement was seen on vaginal health including dryness and thinning.
- Vaginal estriol
- Vaginal DHEA
- Vaginal moisturizers like cocoa butter suppositories, Replens, vitamin E, or calendula suppositories
- More sexual activity- arousal produces natural lubrication that will help with these symptoms
Specific Treatments for Urinary Symptoms
- Reduce or eliminate caffeine
- Bladder training techniques (biofeedback): http://www.everydayhealth.com/incontinence/biofeedback-treatment.aspx
- Maintain a health weight
- Kegel exercises. Read Dr Christiane Northrup’s blog about incontinence and kegels
- Pessary for stress incontinence: http://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/mechanical-devices-for-urinary-incontinence-in-women
- Surgical techniques to restructure support
- Vaginal/vulvar estriol or estradiol
Contact a qualified women’s health practitioner for more information regarding treatment options and for appropriate dosages of hormone creams for your particular needs.